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All Museums are closed

January 2, 2019.  Due to the federal government shutdown, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed.

For the status of Smithsonian Associate events, please check smithsonianassociates.org. We will update the status of museums as soon as the situation is resolved.

Smithsonian staff

Federal employees
During a shutdown, no federal employees may come to work, unless they have been designated as “excepted.” “Excepted” employees should already have been notified and include those who:

  • Protect life or property
  • Engage in the orderly shutdown of operations
  • Perform contractual obligations under no-year or multiyear funds remaining available for those purposes and who are paid from those funds

During a shutdown period, federal employees not identified as “excepted” may not volunteer to carry out their regular duties. The Anti-Deficiency Act prohibits non-excepted federal employees from performing any job duties, either at home or at their duty stations. Non-excepted federal employees should not perform any work, even at home, for the duration of the shutdown or risk violating this law and personal liability. This includes the use of Smithsonian handheld devices such as BlackBerries, iPhones, and cell phones.

Trust Employees
Trust employees (this includes any employee paid from non-federal sources of funds) may not come to work if their presence would incur a related or incidental federal expense. Therefore, trust employees who work in these locations may not report for duty unless they meet one of the excepted criteria below:

  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (NYC)
  • Donald W. Reynolds Center
  • Freer and Sackler galleries
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Museum Conservation Institute
  • Museum Support Center
  • National Air and Space Museum (Mall)
  • National Air and Space Museum (Hazy)
  • National Museum of African Art
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of the American Indian (Mall)
  • National Museum of the American Indian (CRC)
  • National Museum of the American Indian (NYC)
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • National Postal Museum
  • National Zoo
  • Pennsy Drive
  • Quad/Ripley Center (all units located here)
  • Renwick Gallery
  • SI Castle

The only trust employees who may work are:

  • Trust employees who do not work in the facilities listed above.
  • Trust employees who are working in a facility on the list above but who are designated as “excepted” based on the same criteria as federal employees.
  • Trust employees who can productively work from home and who have been approved by their supervisors to telework. (In this unique situation, no prior formal telework agreement is required.)

Trust employees who do not meet any of these criteria may not volunteer to carry out their regular duties and may not report to work or work from home during this time. This includes the use of Smithsonian handheld devices such as BlackBerries, iPhones, and cell phones.

Federal and trust employees who are allowed to work under the criteria listed above will be paid for these days; however, the timing of paychecks could be delayed due to the shutdown. At this time, Congress has not determined whether furloughed federal employees would receive retroactive pay for the days on which they do not work. A decision on whether furloughed Trust employees would receive retroactive pay will be made once the federal decision is clear.

Federal employees on travel (other than those funded with no-year or multiyear funds and whose travel is funded with no-year or multiyear funds) must not perform work during a shutdown. An employee on travel when a shutdown goes into effect should consult with his or her supervisor and use best judgment about whether to return home or wait out the shutdown, based on news accounts. Federal employees generally will not be entitled to per diem or reimbursement of travel costs for days on travel during a shutdown. If you have travel scheduled to begin on Tuesday, we recommend that you consider cancelling or postponing the trip. All trust employees on trust-funded travel may continue their trips.

Further Information

Information needed for the shutdown, including language for voicemails, email signatures, websites, and social media; sign text for doors; and shutdown guidance for contracting can be found on Prism. Unit directors and PIOs also have received this information.

Employees are encouraged to monitor local television and radio stations for updates about the shutdown. Information about the Smithsonian’s operating status can be found on the Smithsonian Alerts website (alerts.si.edu) or by calling the Smithsonian Alerts Hotline at (202) 633-8100.

Posted: 2 January 2019
About the Author:

The Torch editor is fired with a burning desire to ignite the flames of enthusiasm among her Smithsonian colleagues while brandishing the Torch of knowledge. She also likes puns.