Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA, the National Geographic Society (NGS) is one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions. Its areas of interest span geography, natural science, archaeology, conservation of the environment and world history and culture. Its mission is to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources." It is governed by a Board of 23 trustees comprising stalwarts from the fields of education, business, government and conservation.

The NGS funds and sponsors scientific research and exploration. It publishes the world famous journal, National Geographic and other publications, books, maps, school products, web and film products in various languages. Its educational foundation gives grants to educational institutions to promote the teaching of geography.

It also has a free museum for the public in Washington, D.C. which helps sponsor traveling exhibits like the "King Tut" exhibit which features several majestic artifacts from the tomb of the young Egyptian Pharaoh, and the one on the "Cultural Treasures of Afghanistan."

The National Geographic Society was started as a club for rich patrons and academics who were fond of traveling. It was launched in 1888, in Washington, D.C. Nine months later, the National Geographic Magazine or National Geographic, was first published. Since then, the magazine has been published as a monthly with four map supplements. To commemorate certain occasions, it also comes out with special issues. Today, it is published in 32 languages and has a circulation of almost nine million a month.