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Smithsonian Collections Could Be At Risk In Substandard Storage Facility

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Valuable art and science collections owned by the Smithsonian Institution may be at risk of damage.

Artifacts used in many of the Smithsonian's museums are being stored in what's been referred to as "substandard" storage facilities in suburban Maryland.

Scott Dahl, the inspector general for the Smithsonian, testified before a House committee that there are "significant risks'' for artifacts being stored in that facility. Inadequate funding is limiting plans to improve the care of the collections, he said.

Dahl's testimony was part of a congressional hearing that was called to provide an update of past audits on collections held by the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough says the museum complex invested $462 million in managing its collections since 2006. But the tight budget in Congress could affect future progress.

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