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Smithsonian Institution: Facilities Management Reorganization Is Progressing, but Funding Remains a Challenge

GAO-05-369 Published: Apr 25, 2005. Publicly Released: May 25, 2005.
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The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex and research organization, with 18 museums and galleries, 10 science centers, and a zoological park. The age of the structures, past inattention to maintenance needs, and high visitation have left its facilities in need of revitalization and repair. Currently, the Smithsonian estimates $2.3 billion in costs for revitalization, construction, and maintenance projects between 2005 and 2013. This report addresses (1) how the current condition of the Smithsonian's facilities has affected access to the collections, and the collections themselves; (2) what changes the Smithsonian has made to its organization, practices, and prioritization processes to improve its facilities management; and (3) the estimated costs and status of the Smithsonian's facilities projects and their funding sources.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Smithsonian Institution Given the critical importance of correcting the deteriorating condition of the Smithsonian's facilities, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution should establish a process for exploring and analyzing, in a structured and reportable manner, various options for funding its facilities needs (including options that may require legislative authorization), together with the advantages and disadvantages of each. This process should culminate with a method and time frame for engaging the key stakeholders--the Smithsonian Board of Regents, the Administration, and the Congress--in the development and implementation of a strategic funding plan to address the revitalization, construction, and maintenance projects identified by the Smithsonian.
Closed – Not Implemented
This recommendation was not implemented; however, we are closing it because it is superseded by recommendations in GAO-07-1127.

Full Report

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Appropriated fundsCost analysisFacility constructionFacility maintenanceFacility managementFacility repairsFederal facilitiesInternal controlsMaintenance costsMuseumsNational parksReorganizationStrategic planningZoosCost estimatesMaintenance operations