WASHINGTON (AP) _ Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg is being honored for some of his lesser-known exploits.

The filmmaker will be given the Smithsonian Associates' annual James Smithson Bicentennial Medal next Wednesday in Washington. The award is named for the British scientist whose 1846 bequest to the United States financed the start of the Smithsonian Institution.

Spielberg was chosen for his work establishing the Righteous Persons Foundation, a grant-making organization dedicated to strengthening Jewish life, and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, created to preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors.

``I am both surprised and deeply honored to be designated for such a prestigious medal from an institution that is a national and international treasure,'' Spielberg said in a statement.

Past award recipients include the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, filmmaker George Lucas and TV newsman Walter Cronkite.