Smithsonian secretary: Institution losing $1 million a week due to shutdown
© Stefani Reynolds

The secretary of the Smithsonian says that the partial government shutdown is costing the institution $1 million a week in lost revenue.

In a USA Today op-ed, David Skorton writes that the closure of restaurants, gift shops and other Smithsonian operations due to the shutdown is having “palpable effects” on the institution.

“These losses are not recoverable,” he writes. “They will have a lasting effect on our budget for this fiscal year. And that effect grows each day.”

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The shutdown, which has now reached its 32nd day, is affecting about 800,000 federal employees, which includes about 4,000 furloughed Smithsonian employees.

“It is reassuring and appreciated that the president and Congress have agreed to supply back pay once the government fully reopens,” Skorton writes. “But to many of our employees, particularly those with more modest salaries, the loss of each paycheck causes direct and significant harm.”

The Smithsonian, whose fiscal 2018 budget was $1 billion, was able to remain open through Jan. 2 using carry-over funds from last fiscal year. But Skorton writes that since the Smithsonian shut its doors, it has missed out on approximately 45,000 visitors per day.

The shutdown has also halted school field trips, research and expeditions.

“Our great cultural institutions are ... sustaining direct and indirect harm,” Skorton writes.

“Each day of the shutdown has palpable effects on this proud and venerable cultural institution, the people we serve and the members of the Smithsonian family.”