On the same day that President Obama proclaimed October as National Arts and Humanities Month, the Smithsonian Institution has announced that all its museums will close in the increasingly likely event of a U.S. Government shutdown tomorrow.
Of 4,202 Smithsonian employees, 688 would be retained—those needed “to protect life and property.” (National Zoo animals must be fed!)
If government does grind to a halt, Smithsonian employees will get four hours tomorrow “to undertake necessary work for an orderly shutdown,” according to the Smithsonian announcement. “After shutdown activities are completed, non-excepted employees will be released from duty until normal business resumes.”
Is this really happening?
UPDATE: The National Gallery of Art, not part of the Smithsonian (but, in part, federally funded), will also close in the event of a government shutdown.