At least in some cases, yes.
The Smithsonian was selected to receive one of the flown shuttle Orbiters before the plan for figuring out where to send the flown shuttle Orbiters was even written.
The NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-422) directs NASA to
“submit to Congress a plan describing the process for the disposition
of the remaining Orbiters and other Space Shuttle program-related
hardware after the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet.” NASA
advised the Congress that it would begin discussions with the
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum regarding
accession of a flown Space Shuttle Orbiter to the national collection.
The National Air and Space Museum houses the national collection of
aerospace artifacts. NASA also advised the Congress that the Agency
would issue an RFI to gauge the level and scope of interest of U.S.
organizations in acquiring the two (2) other Orbiters and other major
flight hardware (such as the SSMEs) for public display once NASA’s
programmatic requirements for the assets have been satisfied.
From Space Shuttle Program Request for Information (emphasis mine)
Also from Space Shuttle Program Artifacts Pamphlet
When will a decision be made pertaining to who will receive one of the
Shuttle orbiters at the conclusion of the program?
NASA’s primary focus is to ensure that the Space Shuttle safely and
successfully completes its mission of finishing the assembly of the
International Space Station by the end of 2010. NASA intends to
transfer the Shuttle Orbiter Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution,
National Air and Space Museum. NASA has made no decisions on final
disposition of the Shuttle orbiters Atlantis and Endeavour.