A message from Secretary Clough
One of my most frequent “bragging points” when I speak about the Smithsonian is to say our incredible employees keep the Smithsonian museums and the Zoo open to the public every day of the year but one. Of course this year is an exception—the government shutdown just closed our doors for upwards of three weeks. Some would count the downtime in terms of days of the “work week,” but at the Smithsonian we know this means seven lost days a week. I know this was a frustrating experience for all of us, with many of you losing access to a paycheck as part of the bargain. Ending this period of enforced shutdown is a step forward, and I am glad to welcome you all back. Let me say that again—I am very glad to welcome you back!
I would like to offer my thanks to those who kept us afloat during the shutdown. Essential services like feeding the animals at the Zoo, maintaining security at our facilities and continuing progress on critical construction projects like the National Museum of African American History and Culture were ensured by a few working on behalf of the many. Also, there were those who thought of ways to help our employees who were without pay and came up with the plan for the Smithsonian Employee Emergency Assistance Loan Fund. Others worked to prepare plans to allow our workforce to get back up to speed as quickly as possible. All this and more were accomplished with a skeleton crew working on behalf of all of our interests. We owe them our gratitude.
We will still be picking up the pieces as we move back to normal operations, but I know all of you are anxious that we return to full capability to serve the public and fulfill our mission with all due speed. Our goal is to assist you in making this happen. Thank you for all you do for the Smithsonian and the public we serve.
Posted: 17 October 2013