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Museum of American History begins renovations

WASHINGTON – In November, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History began a $37 million renovation estimated to take two and a half years. The center core and east wing of the museum will remain open during the project.

When completed, the west wing will feature new exhibition galleries, an education center, a music hall and performance stages. Other upgrades include updated electrical, HVAC systems and Wi-Fi connections.

A new panoramic window on the west wing’s first floor will showcase a view of the Washington Monument. New exhibits will focus on the history of American innovation, the role of democracy and aspects of American culture.

The west wing’s re-opening is scheduled to coincide with the museum’s 50th anniversary in the winter of 2014. During renovations, visitors can still view exhibitions on military, political history, the Star-Spangled Banner and the First Ladies Collection, which features more than 26 dresses worn by past First Ladies.

Julia Child’s kitchen reopened with expanded space on Aug. 15, which would have been the popular chef’s 100th birthday.

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