Because of budget cuts mandated by the federal sequestration, the Smithsonian Institution will begin closing galleries in some art museums to the public.
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said Tuesday in a news release that the temporary closings would begin May 1 and would continue through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. He said that the closings are necessary because a hiring freeze has reduced the number of security guards available to patrol galleries.
The Smithsonian is losing 5 percent of its federal budget from March through September, or about $41 million.
'There is no question that sequestration will slow our progress and place limits on our ability to serve the American people," Clough said in the release. "The significant funding cuts will affect essentially everything we do."