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Obama budget calls for $47M Smithsonian increase

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Institution is requesting an increase of nearly $47 million in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal as it builds a new National Museum of African American History and Culture and renovates other facilities.

The 2013 budget request announced Monday totals $857 million for the Smithsonian. It includes increases for the black history museum and for major renovations at the National Museum of American History and the National Zoo.

There is also a request for $16.5 million to repair earthquake damage to buildings from last year’s quake.

For the black history museum, Congress has pledged to provide half the museum’s $500 million cost. Groundbreaking is scheduled for next week, and the museum is to be completed in 2015. The Smithsonian’s budget for salaries also increases as the museum hires staff.