Smithsonian museums are reopening after losing $1 million a week

Posted at 7:52 AM, Jan 26, 2019

After major financial losses due to the partial government shutdown, the Smithsonian museums are getting back in business.

The Smithsonian tweeted Friday that all its museums and the National Zoo will reopen Tuesday if a continuing resolution to fund the government passes.

And just hours later, President Donald Trump signed a resolution providing funding until February 15.

The 19 federally-funded museums of the Smithsonian Institution—the world's largest museum, education and research complex -- have been closed since January 2 because of the shutdown.

When the shutdown started on December 22, the Smithsonian managed to keep its museums and the National Zoo, which it also runs, open for 11 days, thanks to carry-over funds from last fiscal year. But those funds ran out on the second day of this month.

And Smithsonian secretary, David J. Skorton, said in an op-ed for USA Today that the 173-year-old institution lost about $1 million each week of the partial government shutdown.

"The closure of restaurants, shops, IMAX theaters and other operations is costing the Smithsonian approximately $1 million in revenue each week," Skorton wrote. "These losses are not recoverable. They will have a lasting effect on our budget for this fiscal year. And that effect grows each day."

While animals at the National Zoo were still being fed and Skorton says the 4,000 furloughed employees will get backpay, the institution will once again be host to tourists, art lovers and history buffs.

"School trips cannot occur with museums closed," Skorton wrote. "The research of curators and others in our museums is halted. Numerous expeditions and field campaigns related to biodiversity, human origins, and healthy forests and waterways have been canceled."

"Each day of the shutdown has palpable effects on this proud and venerable cultural institution, the people we serve and the members of the Smithsonian family," Skorton wrote.