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Add families who plan to visit Washington, D.C. for their summer vacation to the list of people affected by the sequester.  According to The Washington Post

The Smithsonian Institution will be closing small exhibit area sections in the African Art Museum, the Smithsonian Castle and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden beginning Wednesday due to the across the board budget cuts known as sequestration.

The closures, announced by Secretary Wayne Clough after a Board of Regents meeting Monday, are part of $42 million in cuts that began March 1 and extend through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. They are part of a reduction in a security contract that supplements the Smithsonian security force  . . .

Initial cuts to travel and building maintenance as well as a hiring freeze were announced when the sequester first took effect. Gallery closures on a “rolling basis” were announced earlier this month, but Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said the three closures, which will remain in effect until the end of the fiscal year or until Congress enacts new legislation  . . .

For those of you who have not been to the Smithsonian, the Smithsonian is one of the few museums in the country where admission  is free.  Every summer Washington, D.C. is flooded with tourists, many of whom are families who traveled to Washington, D.C. for their summer vacation.  Most of these tourists spend a least some time in the Smithsonian, which is a group of museums.  Each museum covers a different field, and are designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests.  Among the museums are the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum.  

That the museums are free allows people of limited means to visit them.  Visiting the museums is often fun for the children who get to visit them and encourages these children to continue learning about topics of interest to them.

While it appears from the article that the more popular attractions have been spared from these cuts, the cuts are very real as sections of the museums are closed, denying people who want to see those exhibits access to them.

It also appears that the cuts announced are not the end of the cuts.  According to The Washington Post,

Planning for the next fiscal year, which could involve larger cuts, will begin in the summer if the sequester continues, Clough said.

Night Cat has fond memories as a child of visiting the Smithsonian.  It is a shame that the U.S. Congress has chosen to cut funding for the Smithsonian rather than asking the rich and corporations to pay a little more.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Don't Think Anyone Could've Forseen Closure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of something related to Africa.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:40:26 PM PDT

  •  Most museums are free for the poor and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    indigent. You just have to ask. Except for the priciest, or for special exhibitions, museums are charitable enterprises and almost all will allow visitors to enter for free or for a nominal amount.

  •  I spent a week long vacation in DC and only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    set aside a day or two for the Smithsonian. Big mistake. Nowhere near enough time and now I don't know if I'll ever get back there.

  •  Judging by the responses to the bill to relieve (0+ / 0-)

    the FAA from the sequester, I'm not sure how much sympathy Kossacks are going to have for people taking vacations to DC.  People were acting like anyone getting on a plane was a member of the landed gentry.

    •  Not everyone flies to DC (0+ / 0-)

      The northeast corridor is very populated and there are millions of people within a few hours drive of DC so many families drive here.  With the free museums, it can be an inexpensive vacation for many families.  They don't have to stay in the expensive hotels downtown, we have a great subway system so they can stay in a reasonably priced hotel in the suburbs and take the metro down.  

      I think that the cuts will hurt a lot of working families seeking to give their children and fun and educational vacation.  

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