Natural History Museum Closed

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  • The National Museum of Natural History building was closed in the morning, Thursday, August 14, until all safety systems were up and operational. Some systems went down as a result of fiber damage to the building's main network connection. The museum is in the midst of a major construction project, a five-year, $48 million makeover of its southeastern wing, which includes the famous Dinosaur Hall. Randall Kremer, a museum spokesman, said that contractors working on that renovation on Wednesday night inadvertently disabled several cables in a control room affecting many key functions at the museum - including telephones, computers, the audiovisual and security systems in each exhibit and the cafeteria.
  • Kremer said the museum's senior staff was made aware of the problem just before midnight and called in an outside firm that is on contract with the Smithsonian to do repair work. The contractors and Smithsonian employees worked all night to fix the problem, Kremer said. Shortly before 5 a.m., the staff announced that it would not be ready to open to visitors at the usual time of 10 a.m. By noon, the problem was resolved and the museum opened to staff and the public. Office of Facilities Management and Reliability and Office of Protection Services staff assigned to NHB were asked to report to work at their regular time. However, other NHB-based employees who were under active telework agreements were encouraged to telework, since computers, telephones, etc., were not operational. The Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland, was not affected. After repairs were completed, the museum opened to staff and the public at noon.


  • Office of Protective Services
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Natural History Building
  • Office of Facilities Management and Reliability


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • "Natural History Building Closed This Morning," SI Email Announcement, 8/14/2014
  • "Smithsonian's Natural History Museum reopens after repairs Thursday morning," by Victoria St. Martin and Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post, 8/14/2014, local section.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


August 14, 2014


  • Closings
  • Computer systems
  • Security systems
  • Information storage and retrieval systems
  • Personnel management
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Museums--Employees
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees

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