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Smithsonian Institution Fiscal Year 2012 Federal Appropriation totals $811.5 million
Coffin fragment, 1200-1000 BC, of the sky goddess Nut. Photo: Michael Barnes, Smithsonian.
WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s FY 2012 federal appropriation totals $811.5 million. It is $52 million above the FY 2011 appropriation.

The new budget includes $636.5 million for Salaries and Expenses and $175 million for Facilities Capital, which includes $75 million for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All of the above accounts will be reduced by .16 percent, according to the bill that applies to the Smithsonian.

Salaries and Expenses
The Salaries and Expenses account covers $2.3 million for uncontrollable increases in rents and utilities and workers’ compensation. The FY 2012 appropriation continues to place the programmatic increase into the broad categories of the Institution’s strategic plan, linking the funds directly to the overall mission. This year, the Smithsonian will use some of the S&E funds to support the four grand challenges outlined in the strategic plan:

• $100,000 for research related to Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe.

• $1.65 million for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, including $750,000 for a global change research program and funding for other programs such as DNA barcoding and the Encyclopedia of Life (an online database of all the world’s known species).

• $500,000 for Understanding the American Experience which, along with previous funding, enables the Smithsonian to better document and present the diverse cultures that have become part of American culture.

• Valuing World Cultures will rely on previous funding to conduct research in history and art of the world’s cultures.

One of the key components of the strategic plan is broadening access to Smithsonian collections, exhibitions and outreach programs. This will be accomplished through new media, digitizing the collections and using social networking tools. A total of $500,000 will be added to this year’s appropriation for digitizing the collections ($400,000) and supporting Web and new media projects ($100,000).

Collections are the heart of the Smithsonian and additional funds have been included in the FY 2012 appropriation ($500,000) to support collections care and preservation at the National Museum of Natural History and to care for the living collection of animals at the National Zoo.

Facilities maintenance funds are part of the Salaries and Expenses account; this year, Congress approved a total funding of $72 million for maintenance and repair needs.

The FY 2012 request identifies reductions in museums and research centers to keep within the total amount allocated to the Smithsonian by President Obama’s budget. This required a total of $3.5 million to be redirected to higher priority programs, many directly related to the strategic plan.

Facilities Capital
Most of the Facilities Capital funds provided for FY 2012 ($100 million) are directed toward revitalization projects and design including $17 million for continued renovation of the National Zoo (completing Asia Trail and upgrading life and safety systems); renovation of the west wing of the National Museum of American History ($11 million); funds for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. ($17.4 million) to replace old trailers and renovate the Mathias Lab; and $8 million for the revitalization of public and non-public spaces in the National Museum of Natural History. The $100 million revitalization total includes planning and design for future projects ($14.6 million).

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