Government shutdown closes Museum of Aviation to public

Wings and Wheels will still be held

wcrenshaw@macon.comOctober 10, 2013 

MOA_Auction

The Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, seen here in 2009, is temporarily shuttered due to the government shutdown.

WOODY MARSHALL — wmarshall@macon.com

The impasse on the federal budget has temporarily shut down the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base.

All museums operated by the Department of Defense were ordered closed Thursday, according to a base release, because those operations are not related to ongoing military activities or safety and security.

The museum attracts more than 450,000 visitors a year.

“While we are not able to open to the public, we will continue our mission through the planning, restoration and development of future exhibits and programs to tell the rich story of the United States Air Force,” museum Director Ken Emery said in the release.

While the museum is supported by donations, many of its employees are federal workers, and the base pays the utility bills.

Col. Chris Hill, the installation commander, said employees at the museum will still report to work, but the facilities will be closed. Asked how that would save money, he said the issue is an interpretation of the law.

“We don’t have the authorization to support that activity,” he said.

The museum will remain closed until Congress either passes a budget or a continuing resolution to fund the government, Hill said.

Officials are still determining whether certain events scheduled at the museum should be canceled. The Wings and Wheels Car Show scheduled for Saturday will go on, Hill said, because it is an outdoor event. Attendees, however, will not be able to go into the museum buildings.

The Nevermore Hills Haunted Trail that’s scheduled to open Friday night in the wooded area beside the Museum of Aviation will also go on as planned.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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