The 34-day partial shutdown, the longest in history, began Dec. 22, but the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian museums and zoo stayed open through December. They used reserve funds to keep operating during the busy holiday season but were forced to close this month.
As a result, no visitors were able to enjoy the final three weeks of the popular “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” at the Renwick Gallery, and “Rachel Whiteread,” a solo show of the British sculptor’s work, closed two weeks after the National Gallery shut its doors to the public. The three-month run of “Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes” at the Hirshhorn Museum was cut to two because of the shutdown.
The shutdown hurt the museums financially, too. The Smithsonian lost about $1.5 million in revenue during the first 10 days, and roughly $1 million a week for the past two weeks in food and beverage sales, Imax theater admissions and parking fees. Dozens of classes were postponed, lectures and performances were canceled, and deadlines for future exhibitions missed.