Smithsonian museums, National Zoo close doors due to shutdown

The Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington, DC, closed their doors Wednesday as the partial government shutdown entered its 12th day.

The 19 museums in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection and the National Zoo initially remained open during the shutdown, which started on December 22. In a tweet on December 27, the institution said the museums and zoo would close Wednesday, January 2 if there was no deal to fund the government passed into law and signed by President Donald Trump.

“Due to the federal government shutdown, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed,” the institution said in statement released Wednesday. “Museum and National Zoo programming and events are also canceled.”

In addition to the National Zoo’s grounds being closed to the public, its live-animal cameras — including the popular panda cam — will not be operating during the shutdown, the statement said.

The institution, however, said the National Zoo intends to continue feeding and caring for the animals during the stalemate. “A shutdown will not affect the Zoo’s commitment to the safety of staff and the standard of excellence in animal care,” the statement read.

The shutdown is due in large part to a disagreement over how much federal funding should be allocated to Trump’s promised border wall. The stalemate has put 380,000 federal employees on furlough, while another 420,000 are working without pay.

In its December tweet, the institution said that it plans to “update our operating status as soon as the situation is resolved.”