Under President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022, federal support for the Smithsonian Institution would grow by $69 million or 7 percent to $1.1 billion.
This increase includes the congressionally mandated pay raise, funds to continue major renovation projects at the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Building, and support for establishing two new museums. Smithsonian is also funded by private donations and a trust fund.
The Facilities Capital account would receive $230 million (+7 percent), including $56 million to continue the major renovation project at the National Air and Space Museum; $18 million for the National Zoo’s ongoing revitalization work; $7 million for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; $0.7 million for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; $11 million for the Suitland Collections Center; $18 million for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and $9 million for ongoing renovations at the Smithsonian Institution Building or the Castle.
The National Museum for Natural History (NMNH) would receive $14 million under the Facilities Capital account to continue major revitalization work. Under the Salaries and Expenses account NMNH would receive $53 million (+4 percent).
Small funding increases are proposed for most ongoing activities, including public programs for dissemination of information (+$1.6 million), exhibitions (+$2.4 million), and educational programs (+$1.3 million). Interdisciplinary research programs are slated to receive an increase of $11 million. Of that increase, $4 million would be targeted to biodiversity research, including increased support for the Global Earth Observatory networks and climate change coordination and monitoring.
Funding for the preservation of collections would increase by 6.5 percent to $80.5 million. Digitization of collections to make them accessible online would remain a priority and would receive an increase of $7 million or 41 percent in funding. According to the request, “the Institution has insufficient staff to provide optimal care for its collections, and is hindered in strengthening and sharing its collections with diverse national and international audiences.” As such, the request includes an increase of $1.9 million for collections support to rebuild curatorial and collections management staffing and support collections research.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), which works towards understanding the biological and cultural diversity in the tropics, would receive a slight boost of 2.5 percent to $15.6 million. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) conducts research on land and water ecosystems in the coastal zone and would receive $4.8 million (+3 percent). In 2022, SERC will continue to collaborate with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and lead in the development of the Marine Global Earth Observatories (MarineGEO) initiative, which tracks changes in near-shore marine ecosystems.