American History Museum to Close for Repairs

The most popular branch of the Smithsonian will be closing after Labor Day to undergo a planned two-year renovation. The American History Museum wants to update the building's infrastructure and create a better display for the Star Spangled Banner. A painstaking 8-year conservation project on the flag was completed Wednesday.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And when two museums open, another museum closes, or so it seems here in Washington. Yesterday, the National Museum of American History announced it will be closing September 5 for its own architectural transformation. With three million objects including Abraham Lincoln's top hat and Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt, the museum is one of the most popular branches of the Smithsonian. That means it's crowded and with a maze of galleries, it's often the hardest to navigate.

Renovations to the 42-year-old building will change that, between perhaps most importantly, the museum will finally have a state of the art enclosure for the fragile Star Spangled Banner.

The Smithsonian expects all the renovations to take two years. It was expected the renovations to the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery to take three years and they took six. So keep that in mind when you plan your pilgrimage to see Judy Garland's ruby slippers, Archie Bunker's chair or Julia Child's kitchen.

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