President Obama requests $857 million for the Smithsonian


President Obama speaks to students about his budget plan at the Northern Virginia Community College Monday. (Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

In the fiscal 2013 federal budget request, released Monday, the president asked for $85 million for the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

If approved, Congress would have contributed $200 million of its promised $250 million for the museum. The museum is slated to open in November 2015. In his request, Obama also asked for $16. 5 million to repair some structures damaged by the 2011 earthquake. The National Air and Space Museum suffered some roof leaks, and three support buildings in the suburbs needed repairs.

In total, the president asked Congress to give the Smithsonian $856.8 million in fiscal 2013. The 2012 appropriation was $810.2 million.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities also got some good news.

The arts and humanities endowment received increases of $8 million. The budget request of $154. 2 million at the NEA would help the core grants that are funneled back to arts organizations. “A dollar invested directly through the NEA is matched by $8 of additional investment and generates $26 of economic activity in the community,” said NEA chairman Rocco Landesman.

Both the arts and humanities endowment are slotted for a onetime $3 million to cover moving expenses. That’s because Donald Trump plans to convert their headquarters at the Old Post Office Pavilion, or the Nancy Hanks Building, into a luxury hotel.

In a ceremony Monday for the arts and humanities medalists, the president spoke about the power of culture. “The arts and the humanities do not just reflect America. They shape America. And as long as I am President, I look forward to making sure they are a priority for this country,” said Obama.

The National Gallery of Art got a slight raise of $14.6 million, bringing their new request to $143 million. The museum programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Services might receive $30.8 million for four grant programs.The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum received a 2013 request of $51, 788,000.

The numbers for the Kennedy Center showed a slight decrease from the $36.7 appropriated in fiscal 2012 to the 2013 request of $35.9.

See the president’s full budget proposal here.

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