Smithsonian limits gallery closures to three museums

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Smithsonian Institution is limiting the number of galleries it will close due to budget cuts mandated by Congress.

Smithsonian officials plan to close sections of three buildings between May 1 and Sept. 30. The museum complex must reduce its budget by $42 million as part of Congress' across-the-board budget cuts.

Spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas says the Smithsonian will close a small exhibit space in the National Museum of African Art, some sections of the Hirshhorn Museum displaying parts of its permanent collection and the Commons area of the Smithsonian Castle. That area shows objects from every Smithsonian museum.

No major exhibitions will close.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough told Congress this month that the budget cuts forced a reduction in the Smithsonian's security contract, resulting in some gallery closures.