Should Smithsonian Museums Charge a Fee?

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Would you still be drawn to Washington DC if all the museums charged $7.50 per person for admission?

The idea to end free admission to museums run by the Smithsonian is one idea the bipartisan panel tasked by President Obama has pinpointed as a possible fix for our national finances.

This list of Smithsonian-run institutions includes 19 museums, ten of which are along the National Mall – such as the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, The National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian also runs the National Zoo.

Charging adult visitors $7.50 could earn the federal government about $225 million per year, says the commission. Neither the Democratic nor Republican party has officially endorsed the idea, but it is being discussed among other options.

The Smithsonian has requested $797.6 million from Congress to fund its operations in 2011 alone.

Last week, the Smithsonian museums feared a government shutdown would cause their doors to close to approximately 500,000 people who had descended on the capital for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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