Visitors caught off guard by Smithsonian Museum closures

Visitors tour the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. A high-stakes move to reopen the government will be the first big battle between Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump as Democrats come into control of the House. The new Democratic House majority gavels into session this week with legislation to end the government shutdown. Pelosi and Trump both think they have public sentiment on their side in the battle over Trump's promised U.S.-Mexico border wall. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON — Walking along the National Mall, Bryan Alcaraz and Jacqueline Laurente-Alcaraz had big plans for Wednesday, including a stop at the Museum of African American History and Culture.

It’s the Florida couple’s first time visiting the D.C. area together, but due to the government shutdown, their plans to check out the museums won’t be happening.

“I was just mentioning to her about the museums we could stop by, it’s kind of disappointing actually,” said Alcaraz.

It would’ve been Jacqueline’s first time visiting any of the Smithsonian Museums.

“I don’t know when I’m going to come back here to come see any of this,” said Laurente-Alcaraz.

The news of the museums closing also came as a surprise for Daniel Yee and Benedict Ng, students visiting from the University of California, Berkeley in California.

They had hoped to stop by the National Air and Space Museum.

“I’m still processing the information right now,” said Ng.

The National Zoo and Smithsonian research centers also are closed.

The National Gallery of Art will remain open until Wednesday since it closed New Year’s Day while other museums remained open.

So for now, visitors like Yee will have to plan accordingly.

“Just changing the schedule a bit, I guess it’s not too bad,” Yee said.

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