The Smithsonian outlined plans Wednesday for the costliest project in its history, a nearly $1 billion makeover of the National Air and Space Museum, The Washington Post writes. Testifying before a Congressional oversight committee, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton said the organization would seek to raise $250 million from private sources for a thorough renovation of the 40-year-old facility, one of the world’s most-visited museums.
The remaining funds for the project would be appropriated by Congress. The Smithsonian plans to begin construction in 2018. Mr. Skorton said about half of the museum would remain open during the six to seven years it will take to complete the upgrade, which he described as a less-costly alternative to replacing the aging building outright. He said the museum needs new mechanical systems and a new exterior and that the work will “transform all 22 galleries to be more imaginative, stimulating, and technologically capable.”