Summer is always the Smithsonian’s busiest season…and this year we anticipate more visitors than ever as families stay closer to home because of the economic climate.
As the suffering economy brings more visitors to the Smithsonian this summer, it has also forced us to cut our budget. We’re proud to be America’s Summer Vacation, so much so that we’ve extended visiting hours for the next few months to welcome even more people into our museums. But the influx of visitors pushes our resources to the limit.
The gap between federal government funds and what we need to open our doors continues to widen, to the detriment of some of our most important programs. Where else but the Smithsonian can a family stroll alongside rare giant pandas…stand in front of the very flag that inspired our national anthem…and touch a piece of the moon? The Smithsonian is a place where families can travel the world together for free but many of our educational programs are being eliminated, fewer traveling exhibitions will be available, and visitor services are being reduced as the result of the budget shortfall.
This summer, the Smithsonian will give millions of people a chance to witness the rich fabric of our nation’s history, the future of scientific discovery, and the beauty of cultural heritage from every corner of the globe. There is no question that an anticipated increase in visitors is exciting news… but it also means an increase in our costs and the resources needed to accommodate more people.
As we anticipate more visitors this summer than ever before, the Smithsonian needs your help today.
Virginia B. Clark
Director, External Affairs
PS: We know how much the Smithsonian means to America…and to families on a tight budget, who count on us being free to the public. As always and with your support there are no admission fees for this incredible experience. Please make your gift today to help close our budget gap.