History During the Shutdown: Smithsonian and Other Museums Forced to Close

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tags: Smithsonian, museums, government shutdown

The partial government shutdown is now in its 12th day. More than 400,000 federal employees are working without pay, trash is overflowingin our National Parks, and the presidents of labor unions—one of which is suing President Trump—have said that requiring workers to punch in without pay is “nothing short of inhumane.”

There were still faint glimmers of civilization left in a divided, deadlocked Washington: the 19 Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries along the National Mall remained opened to the public for free due to unused “prior-year funds”; and the National Gallery of Art remained open as well. Even without a paycheck, government employees could check out the Apollo 11 command module at the National Air and Space Museum, the contemporary art in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Chuck Berry’s sparkling Cadillac Eldorado at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or Barack and Michelle Obama’s new portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. 

Now the party’s over—the rainy day funds that the museums had been relying on have run out, and the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will close Wednesday, with the National Gallery following suit on Thursday. 

Read entire article at Smithsonian.com

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