GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN HAS ENDED, BUT CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS MAY REMAIN AFFECTED

Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Donald Trump‘s government shutdown began at midnight on January 20th, 2018 after Congress failed to agree on legislation to appropriate funding to government operations and agencies. The last shutdown occurred in October 2013 during the Obama administration and lasted 16 days. After a three-day standoff, Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to pass a spending bill that will fund the federal government, though only through February 8th. This spending bill was signed by Trump on Monday night, officially ending the shutdown—at least until next month.

A sign announcing the closure of the Statue of Liberty from January 21, 2018. Photo by REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.

Many cultural institutions have been affected due to the government shutdown. Until Monday, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty were shuttered. Though the Smithsonian has sufficient leftover funds from past years to have kept its museums and zoos (including the Cooper Hewitt, the African American Museum, The National Zoo and the American Indian Museum, among many others) open since the shutdown, the institution issued this foreboding statement to Hyperallergic yesterday: “We don’t know about tomorrow and beyond.”

According to a statement on the website for the National Gallery of Art, “The Gallery will be open to the public Monday January 22 and Tuesday January 23, 10:00 to 5:00. All programs will take place as scheduled. The Gallery’s status after Tuesday is yet to be determined.” The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum remains closed, as well as The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

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