It’s been a little while since the Smithsonian‘s gift shops have received any attention, perhaps since fall of 2007, when it was reported that none of them were making any money, “due to things like poor placement, bad displays and lack of stock.” Now the shops have been thrust back into the spotlight, though unfortunately for the organization, with roughly the same level of negative attention. This week, Capitol Hill set its sights on the Smithsonian, demanding that the institution start selling more American-made products in its gift shops, with West Virginia Representative Nick Rahall introducing the aptly named bill, “Buy American at the Smithsonian Act”
Mr. Rahall’s bill would prevent the Smithsonian from using federal money to construct or refurbish a building unless all items in its gift shops are American made. About 70 percent of the museum’s budget comes from the federal government.
While that bill covers the whole of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American History quickly acted, saying they’ve prepared to open their most patriotic gift shop yet:
Brent D.Glass,the director of the museum, said Thursday a third floor gift shop will be dedicated to American products. The shop will open on July 4th, Glass said. It is located next to the exhibitions “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” and “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden.”