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Report Says Smithsonian Museums Saw Jump in Visits Last Year
Costumed historic characters walk in the lobby outside of the flag gallery at the National Museum of American History, which reopened after a two-year, $85 million renovation, in Washington. Visitor counts at the Smithsonian Institution's museums rebounded to more than 30 million in 2009 for the first time since a slump following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a draft report the museum complex is releasing Tuesday Jan. 5, 2010. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.

By: Brett Zongker, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON, DC (AP).- Visitor counts at the Smithsonian Institution's museums have rebounded to more than 30 million visits in 2009 for the first time since a slump following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A draft report the museum complex released Tuesday shows visits to the Smithsonian's 18 museums, galleries and the National Zoo increased about 19.4 percent in 2009, up from about 25.15 million visits in 2008.

Much of the increase can be attributed to the National Museum of American History, which reopened in 2008 after an extensive renovation. It drew about 1.4 million more visitors last year compared with its last full year open in 2005.

The National Museum of Natural History saw an increase of about 450,000 to 7.4 million visits, making it the most-visited museum.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Smithsonian Museums | National Museum of American History | National Museum of Natural History |

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