Government Shutdown Causes National Museum Of African American History And Culture To Close Its Doors
By Sharelle Burt
This government shutdown is really putting a damper on the new year. First, there are multiple reports that tax returns are being held up and now, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is closed indefinitely. Employees have been temporarily let go because of the closure.
Closing their doors last Wednesday, the news breaks hearts for thousands who were set on traveling to view some of the artifacts of our history placed in the museum. This isn’t the only museum closing. All 19 of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. will close their doors, thanks to Trump’s partial government shutdown. Trump wants to raise $5 billion for a wall along the Mexican border.
The NMAAHC has been making amazing strides since they first opened in 2016. Founding director Lonnie Burch says they passed their fundraising budget last year, raising over $400,000. They have asked potential visitors to continue supporting them, especially during the shutdown. “We are so encouraged by your support, which will help make 2019 an amazing year for the Museum. Especially during the federal government shutdown, your support is more significant than ever,” NMAAHC said in a statement. “Though the Museum is temporarily closed, our collection goes beyond the walls of the building in our digital collection found on our website, and our mission to elevate the African American experience to its rightful place in history remains critically important.”
Luckily, the museum was one of the later spots affected by the shutdown. Most entities like the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, and Justice have been closed since the beginning of the shutdown, on December 22. Other federal agencies, like the NMAAHC, have been able to stay open past that due to state funding and surplus budgets. But now that the funding is up, 200 employees are out of a job, including those that work at Sweet Home Café, the popular restaurant located on the bottom floor.
Since the opening, the 400,000 square foot museum has brought nearly a million people to its doors. Busloads of black churches, family reunions, and friendly vacations make the NMAAHC a priority destination. The free museum continues to use timed passes to regulate the flow of visitors however with the shutdown; representatives are working with ticketholders to reschedule visits.