As of today in Washington, D.C., all of the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed to the public due to the federal government shutdown. When people showed up for a museum or zoo visit today, they found signage which explains that due to the government shutdown, the buildings and zoo are closed.
The Daily Mail says that both the Smithsonian and the National Zoo were able to stretch their funding into the new year, but they ran out of money today. Zoo fans were doubly disappointed when they went online to check out the panda cam only to find out that it too has been turned off (but zoo staff assures the public that the animals are being fed and cared for during the shutdown).
Donald Trump stated today that the shutdown will last "as long as it takes" and so there is no way to give an actual date for the reopening of the various Smithsonian museums and the zoo, which are all popular destinations for tourists and school groups.
Sadly, even the president doesn't see an end in sight, even as there is a transfer of power in the House of Representatives.
"I think the people of the country think I'm right."The Smithsonian put out a statement today online to say that even the various websites will not be updated during the shutdown except to announce a change of status.
"Smithsonian museums, research center, and the National Zoo are closed. We will update our operating status as soon as the situation is resolved. We do not plan to update social media other than to inform you of our operating status."Between the Smithsonian museums, which includes the National Gallery of Art and the Air & Space Museum, and the zoo, 82,000 visitors walk through the doors each day, and many visitors are now disappointed.
But the Washington Post says that not all of the Smithsonian buildings are dark because some Smithsonian employees are not federal government employees.
"About 2,000 of the Smithsonian's 6,000 employees are not paid by the federal government, so those staffers — including museum directors, senior-level administrators, fundraisers and employees of its magazine, television channel and Folkways music label — haven't been furloughed and are working as usual."Two of the Smithsonian museums have started renovations which were organized by contracts so that work is continuing, according to communications director Jim Wood.
"The contract has been signed and we're able to move forward, using nonfederal dollars, to allow the exhibit installation to move forward."