Most Smithsonian funding intact under budget deal

Monday - 4/18/2011, 3:26pm EDT

BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Smithsonian Institution will see a $1.8 million cut in its 2011 budget under the spending deal approved by Congress.

Details of the budget released Monday include a $759.6 million appropriation from Congress, down from $761.4 million last year. Most Smithsonian funding remains intact with a small reduction for salaries and expenses.

Last year, Republican leaders in Congress complained the Smithsonian was misusing taxpayer funds with a National Portrait Gallery exhibit that explored gay themes in art history. A video in the exhibit drew complaints from a Catholic group, and the Smithsonian removed the piece.

Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said there were no cuts to major programs in the appropriation from Congress.

For 2011, there is $125 million for construction and revitalization projects. That includes $20 million for planning and design of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and $10.6 million for revitalization at the National Museum of Natural History and National Zoo. The Natural History Museum also will receive $16.6 million to replace its mechanical systems and windows.

The National Museum of American History will receive $18 million to convert its parking garage into space for collections storage.

Major construction funding for a new museum devoted to black history is still pending in the 2012 budget.


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