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Smithsonian requests $59M increase in budget proposal

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Smithsonian Institution is requesting an increase of $59 million in President Barack Obama's budget proposal for new education programs and to continue building a new black history museum on the National Mall.

The 2014 budget request announced Wednesday totals $869 million for the Smithsonian. In the 2012 fiscal year, the Smithsonian was granted $810 million, and the budget remained largely the same for 2013 under a continuing resolution from Congress.

The president's budget includes $55 million to build the National Museum of African American History and Culture and $21 million to design and build the new museum's exhibits and programs. It's scheduled to open in 2015.

Obama's largest proposed funding increase for the Smithsonian is the addition of $25 million for education programs in science, technology, engineering and math. The Obama administration is consolidating the government's so-called STEM funds into three agencies - the Education Department, the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian.

Also in science funding, the Smithsonian is seeking funding to devote $500,000 to help build a new telescope in Greenland with the National Science Foundation.

For its existing facilities, the Smithsonian is seeking $24 million for major renovations at the National Museum of American History, $17.7 million for renovations at the National Museum of Natural History and $15 million for repairs at the National Zoo. The museum complex also seeks $8 million for a two-year renovation of its Renwick Gallery located near the White House.

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