D.C.

Smithsonian closing three museum galleries

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Sequestration is creating change at some of the most popular tourist attractions along the National Mall.

Starting Wednesday, the Smithsonian will close galleries at three museums.

The Castle will close the area known as the Commons, a room displaying objects from around the Smithsonian. The National Museum of African Art will shutter part of the African Mosaic exhibit and the Hirshhorn Museum will close off a section of some galleries on the third floor.

Indiana resident Jack Leonard says he's glad he got to town before the closures.

“We took a bus tour yesterday so we saw pretty much everything around here,” he says.

The museum complex must reduce its budget by $40 million as part of the mandatory budget cuts. Unless Congress acts between now and then, the exhibits will remain closed until September 30th.

Smithsonian officials already cut back on employee travel and training and deferred unnecessary maintenance.

Now the cuts have forced a reduction in a security contract.

Randy Mitchell says while it's inconvenient, it won't impact his trip too much.

“There's more to see than I can do in four days so I don't think too much,” Mitchell says.

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