The partial shutdown of the government has been a bonanza for the National Guard Memorial Museum inside the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
With many federally funded museums shuttered, the museum operated by the National Guard Educational Foundation has seen a dramatic rise in visitors.
“We’re happy to accommodate the people who came to the nation’s capital to learn about the country,” said Anne Armstrong, the deputy director of NGEF. “We may not have been on their original agenda, but I think most of them have gone away satisfied they had accomplished their goal.”
Armstrong said 150 students from the National Youth Leadership Forum toured the museum Thursday. Fifty of them were scheduled to visit the National Guard Memorial, but the other 100 came when museums they had planned to tour were closed.
Armstrong said she sent the students through the NGEF museum in 50-student “waves” that lasted from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The group wants to send another 45 to the museum this week.
On Friday, 50 students and 10 chaperones from the Florida Academy turned up when they couldn’t visit the Smithsonian facilities. Armstrong said 114 students from the Eastwood and Northview middle schools in Indianapolis have asked to tour the museum Wednesday.
“It’s too bad the shutdown has closed the city’s wonderful museums to these visitors,” Armstrong said, “but we offer a quality educational experience for anyone who takes the time to tour our galleries.”