Effect of any govt. shutdown may be felt first at museums
WASHINGTON (AP) – The effect of a federal government shutdown would perhaps first be felt by the public Saturday at the national museums and zoo of the Smithsonian Institution.
“The museums and the zoo would not open,” spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said. “Most of our employees are federal.”
However, workers in every museum would be exempt from the ranks of those ordered to stay home. Such essential employees are needed to keep the collections secure and in good condition. The spokeswoman says The National Zoo would have many exempted workers, especially the animal keepers.
The government faces a partial shutdown Friday at midnight if Congress doesn’t take action to avoid one. A stopgap government funding bill is set to expire at that time.
A shutdown this weekend would come at an especially busy time for the Smithsonian. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which concludes this weekend, draws many tourists to an area near the museums. The Smithsonian counts about 3 million visits each April and has already sold 23,000 IMAX movie and lunch combos to school groups for the month.
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