News & Politics

Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building Will Remain Closed

Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough announced the building, closed since 2004, will not reopen in September as planned.

After undergoing a ten-year, $55 million renovation, the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, at Ninth Street and Jefferson Drive, Southwest, will remain closed, Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough announced today.

The museum, a 1879 Late Victorian and the Smithsonian’s second-oldest structure, closed in 2004 for major repairs, and over the past decade has received a new roof, new windows throughout the building, and a modern security system, all paid for with federal funds.

The Smithsonian originally planned to reopen the building in September as an “innovation space” devoted to the museum’s digital collection, with modern additions such as 3D printing. But after a financial study, the institution concluded there was not enough money to both rehabilitate the building structurally and repurpose it.

Legislation is pending in Congress to convert the museum into a proposed American Latino Museum, but for now, the Arts and Industries Building will remain closed. At least it looks a bit nicer.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.