The Smithsonian will begin an almost $1 billion renovation of the National Air and Space Museum next summer with the closing of the western side of the building, officials announced Wednesday.

Museum officials are waiting for Congress to provide funding for the first part of a seven-year, $650 million renovation that will be completed in stages to allow the city’s most visited museum to remain open. Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton said officials are cautiously optimistic that their request will be granted, but he said it is unclear if the project will move forward without it.

The renovation will be the most expensive capital project undertaken by the museum complex, with a price tag almost double the construction of the $540 million National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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Full article: The Smithsonian to undertake Massive Air and Space Museum renovations

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