Skip to main content

Smithsonian requests 2020 budget of $978m for four major projects

National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian has requested a 2020 budget of $978.3 million, for projects at its National Air and Space Museum, National Zoo, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Smithsonian Institution Building.

In 2019, the company requested $1 billion, $303.5 million of which was allocated to the early stages of the National Air and Space Museum’s (and other facilities projects) renovation.

For 2020, the facilities capital request is $219 million, including $118.4 million for the National Air and Space Museum.

National Air and Space Museum

A seven-year renovation project was announced by The Smithsonian in 2017 to breathe new life into the National Air and Space Museum.

The Washington DC building will undergo an overhaul including the replacement of mechanical systems and the refacing of its exterior cladding.

All of the museum’s 23 galleries and presentation spaces will be completely updated.

National Zoo

$27.5 million has been requested for the National Zoo’s ongoing infrastructure work, with zoo officials set to start implementing perimeter changes this year.

The project will see fewer pedestrian entrances and more fencing at the zoo.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden recently announced that it was moving forward with a renovation and redesign of its Sculpture Garden for the first time since the 1980s.

The company has requested $9.7 million for the project, which works to reimagine the space to improve the visitor experience and provide more programming.

Smithsonian Institution Building

Also known as the Castle, the Smithsonian Institution Building has asked for $17 million in planning and design funds.

“It’s the original building, and it’s what most people think of when they think of the Smithsonian,” Albert Horvath, the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for finance and administration, told The Washington Post.

Smithsonian documents show that the Castle’s restoration has been considered for almost 20 years.

James M. Goode, former curator of the Castle explained: “The Castle is the icon of the institution. It should be the primary focus, and it is falling apart.”

Aira technology for blind visitors

Meanwhile, Smithsonian visitors who are blind or have low vision will soon be able to access to innovative and groundbreaking new technology.

Starting this spring, the Smithsonian will roll out Aira technology, which uses guests’ smartphone cameras or smart glasses to get free on-demand verbal descriptions.

Image: National Air and Space Museum

Share this

Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

More from this author

More from this author

Related content

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update