With the 19 federally-funded Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art in DC closed due to the continuing federal government shutdown, people can still view collections and support these vital American institutions--online.
The Smithsonian website has an array of thematic exhibitions of collection objects to browse. Check out Winter Wonderland, Feline Finds (for cat-centric art), Latino Art and Artists, and much more in the Learn & Explore section. Highlight images and videos from current (closed) exhibitions such as Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes can be viewed as well.
Federal funding covers about 60% of the Smithsonian costs, and donations cover the rest. Tax-deductible gifts to fund the museums, research and cultural centers can be made online.
About one million visitors pass through the Smithsonian museums in a typical January, explains Linda St Thomas, the chief spokesperson of the Smithsonian Institution. Those visitors, many who planned trips to Washington for the museums that line the National Mall, have faced disappointment since all Smithsonian museums in DC, along with the Copper-Hewitt in New York, have been closed since Jan. 2. The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden closed to the public on Jan. 3.
Some 800,000 federal employees have been adversely impacted, either forced to work without pay or made to take unpaid time-off.
“We can’t reopen until we have a federal budget, so it all depends on a call from the White House,” says St Thomas.
Since Dec. 22, the White House has not budged on its unsuccessful demand from Congress for over $5 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico, resulting in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.