The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor was accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliate Network Saturday.
The D&L is the first national heritage area in America to gain that distinction.
The announcement stems from the recent merger between the D&L and the National Canal Museum.
"The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor will be the first of its kind in the Smithsonian Affiliate Network," Director of Smithsonian Affiliations Harold A. Closter said. "Like the D&L Corridor, the Smithsonian cares deeply about the nation's natural, cultural and historic resources."
The D&L preserves the historic pathway that carried anthracite and iron from Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia.
Today, the Corridor and 165-mile D&L Trail are a vital connection to nature, recreation, our nation's industrial heritage.
The corridor provides $250 million in annual economic impact.
The National Canal Museum is a regional leader in educational programming for children and adults.
"With this merger of two great organizations, the Smithsonian looks forward to expanding the realms of potential collaboration with the Corridor to include science as well as history," Closter said.
Saturday's announcement coincided with the opening of the National Canal Museum's 2017 season.
The museum is open for tours 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Visitors can also take a ride on the Josiah White II, Pennsylvania's only mule-drawn canal boat ride.
Canal boat tours are 45 minutes long and leave the dock at noon, 1:00 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends. Tours will run Wednesday through Sunday starting June 14. The boat does not sail on Mondays or Tuesdays.
The D&L Trail is a 165-mile scenic pathway that tells the story of America's cultural and industrial history while passing through five counties.