Smithsonian Vows Regular Hours, Despite $40 Million Cut

Smithsonian preparing to absorb the funding cut in other ways

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    The Smithsonian is bracing for a $40 million cut in funding due to the budget stalemate in Congress, but the institution is vowing to keep the doors open at all its museums and the National Zoo.

    Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas says the attractions will maintain normal visitation hours.

    But it's a trade-off -- the Smithsonian is preparing to absorb the funding cut in other ways. Maintenance and new construction will be delayed. Hiring will be frozen. Use of outside contractors will be reduced, as well as training, research and travel.

    Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough wants to avoid a furlough of the institution's 6,000 employees.

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    The $40 million cut represents about 5 percent of the Smithsonian's budget spread out from March 1 to the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30.