The President’s fiscal year 2011 budget request to Congress for the Smithsonian is $797.6 million, an increase from the $761.4 million appropriated to the Institution in FY 2010. The Salaries and Expenses budget request for FY 2011 is $660.8 million and the Facilities Capital budget is $136.8 million.
Salaries and Expenses
The Salaries and Expenses account covers salaries and benefits, rent, utilities, travel, routine maintenance, security and other operating expenses. This year, the Smithsonian requested an additional $13.6 million to partially cover mandatory salary increases and related costs, such as workers’ compensation, and an additional $147, 000 for utilities, rent and other fixed operating costs.
This appropriation request reflects the Smithsonian’s new strategic plan; the requested increases are allocated according to the following categories, or four grand challenges, of the plan: $8 million for Biodiversity, which includes funds for biodiversity and climate change research, DNA barcoding and the Encyclopedia of Life Web site; $1 million for Understanding the American Experience; $500, 000 for Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe; and $500, 000 for World Cultures.
Another request for an increase in the Salaries and Expenses account will go toward collections care—$2.4 million to improve preservation, storage, documentation and accessibility to the Institution’s collections and for the care of the animals at the National Zoo.
The term “broadening access” in the strategic plan refers to making the collections accessible to researchers and people who cannot visit the museums by using the Internet and other technologies. A total of $1.5 million will be dedicated to staff and computer equipment to continue the process of digitizing the Smithsonian collections.
Facilities Capital funds for FY 2011 are requested for a variety of revitalization projects, which total $106.1 million. The five biggest projects are:
National Museum of American History—$18 million to convert the parking garage into useable space for collections storage during the next renovation phase (west wing).
National Museum of Natural History—$17.6 million to replace the 40-year-old mechanical and electrical systems and continue replacing windows in the main building.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center—$16 million for a laboratory and support facility to replace temporary trailers that have deteriorated.
National Zoo—$11.4 million for continued infrastructure work, repairs of the seals and sea lions pool and renovation of a training and education center at the Zoo’s facility in Front Royal, Va.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum—$8.8 million for renovation of the Carnegie Mansion that houses the museum, including replacing the main elevator and upgrading the building’s systems.
A Planning and Design total of $30.5 million has been requested: $20 million for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and $10.5 million to design several major revitalization projects at the Natural History Museum and the Zoo, in addition to designs for smaller projects and master planning.