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Air Force museum to close if government shutdown occurs


A federal government shutdown will close the doors temporarily at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the region's biggest tourist attraction with more than one million visitors a year.

All of the museum's 95 federal civilian employees would be furloughed with the exception of three workers who are security personnel, according to museum spokeswoman Sarah Swan.

In the last government shutdown in November 1995, the museum closed to the public for five days.

In October 2012, the museum had an average daily attendance of 2,087 visitors.

If the museum closes, the National Aviation Hall of Fame will move a scheduled yearly induction ceremony and dinner Friday evening to the Hope Hotel and Conference Center ballroom, said Ron Kaplan, enshrinement director.

"It creates quite a few challenges and, of course, is not nearly as spectacular in the Modern Flight Gallery" inside the museum, Kaplan said. "We don't have the luxury of postponing this event with the dignitaries coming in from all points of the compass.

"It just creates a great waste or time, money and manpower unnecessarily," he added. "The irony is this is America's Oscar night of aviation and its own government has thrown it into a blender."


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