The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alan Karchmer

Shutdown forces Smithsonian to close sites

Simon Stephens, 04.01.2019
19 museums and a zoo hit by US federal government shutdown
The world’s largest museum organisation has been forced to close all its sites because of the federal government shutdown in the US.

The Smithsonian, which has 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park, as well as research facilities, closed the doors of its venues on 2 January following the shutdown, which started on 22 December. The museums are normally open seven days a week.

Admission to all Smithsonian museums in Washington is free, including its most recent addition, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016. A statement on its website says: “Timed entry pass holders will be emailed instructions on how to reschedule their visit. Please continue to check this site for updates on the museum's operating status.”

Other Smithsonian sites, such as the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, charge for entry but are also closed.

The Smithsonian’s annual federal budget is about $1bn, which makes up two-thirds of its income, the rest coming from earned income and private sources. There were nearly 30 million visits to its museums and the National Zoo in 2017.

The Smithsonian estimates that it holds nearly 155 million objects, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

The government shutdown is the result of an impasse between US president Donald Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate, and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. 

Nancy Pelosi, the house’s newly elected speaker, has promised to end the shutdown, but Republicans in the Senate say they will not support budget legislation which does not include funds for the president’s border wall.


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10.01.2019, 15:07
Not amazing - it is disgusting that Republican self-interest not only punishes hardworking and underprivileged individuals and families it also has the audacity to blockade US citizens and all people from access to global cultural heritage, science based development, and critical educational sources especially for young people - America's and the World's future leaders and innovators.
10.01.2019, 12:23
It amazes me that something like this can happen. Just because the US is unfortunate enough to have a psychopathic overgrown toddler for a president who's throwing a tantrum because he isn't getting his own way, the entire business of state has to stop!
10.01.2019, 13:06
I don't really understand why they need to shut down, they must have funds, no? Or is it because it's a new calendar year and possibly fiscal year so they actually didn't get their funds because of the shutdown?? 樂