What's Closed? Government Shutdown Update: Smithsonian Museums, National Zoo Go Dark as Donald Trump, Democrats Try to Reach Deal

Tourists kicking off 2019 with a trip to Washington, D.C., may be disappointed to find the doors of the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed to visitors because of the partial government shutdown.

On Wednesday, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden posted on Twitter that Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo were closed because of the government shutdown. Hirshhorn informed its Twitter followers that its social media pages would not be updated other than to inform the public about its operating status.

Once the situation with the government was resolved, Hirshhorn said its operating status would be updated.

Due to the #GovernmentShutdown, Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed. We will update our operating status as soon as the situation is resolved. We do not plan to update social media other than to inform you of our operating status.

— Hirshhorn (@hirshhorn) January 2, 2019

The National Zoo and the Smithsonian posted the same message on their own Twitter pages, as well. Although there will be a reduction in the public's enjoyment, the Smithsonian explained that the animals in the zoo's care would continue to be cared for.

"The National Zoo live-animal cameras, including the panda cam, are not broadcasting. All the animals will continue to be fed and cared for at the National Zoo," the Smithsonian said. "A shutdown will not affect the Zoo's commitment to the safety of staff and the standard of excellence in animal care."

Along with closing the doors, museum and National Zoo programming and events were canceled. Smithsonian Associates, a museum-based education program, doesn't receive government funding, but because of the shutdown, events could not be held in any of the affected facilities. The organization was looking for alternate venues to hold upcoming events and explained ticket holders would be informed via email or phone of any changes.

smithsonian museums national zoo closed government shutdown
A sign on the door of The National Museum of the American Indian states that the museum is closed as the partial shutdown of the government goes into the 12th day on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

There are a total of 19 museums, galleries, gardens and zoos that operate as part of the Smithsonian organization. Seventeen of those are located in Washington, D.C., or the surrounding area, and include:

  • African American Museum
  • African Art Museum
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
  • American Art Museum
  • American History Museum
  • American Indian Museum
  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Archives of American Art
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Hirshhorn
  • National Zoo
  • National History Museum
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Postal Museum
  • Renwick Gallery
  • S. Dillion Ripley Center
  • Sackler Gallery
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • Smithsonian Gardens

The Smithsonian's two other properties, the Cooper Hewitt and the American Indian Museum Heye Center, are in New York City.

Almost all Smithsonian museums and the zoo are free and are usually open every day, except Christmas Day.

A partial government shutdown was declared on December 22 after the Senate could not come up with a spending bill that President Donald Trump would sign (the House passed a bill that included $5.7 billion for the border wall). Trump's campaign promise of a wall along the southern border continues to be a sticking point. Democrats and Republicans were invited to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on border security.

House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi's office told USA Today the meeting was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., and both she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were expected to attend.

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