Smithsonian Institution: Better Care Needed for National Air and Space
Museum Aircraft (Chapter Report, 10/19/95, GAO/GGD-96-9).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed aircraft restoration
at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM),
focusing on: (1) the adequacy of facilities for preserving aircraft; and
(2) options to improve NASM aircraft restoration efforts.

GAO found that NASM: (1) commits fewer resources to aircraft restoration
than it does to its other museum activities; (2) lacks adequate space to
properly display or store restored aircraft; (3) must determine how to
better preserve its aircraft collection despite its limited financial
resources and lack of space; (4) needs to develop criteria for what
constitutes historically significant aircraft and consider which
aircraft should be kept in its collection; (5) could help preserve its
aircraft collection, alleviate its storage capacity problems, and share
its collection with the public by using second party restorations; (6)
expansion plans at Dulles Airport could help alleviate storage facility
problems, but funding is uncertain and the extension could take years to
complete; (7) could reduce short term costs by limiting the new storage
space to the same size as current storage facilities; and (8) does not
have a management plan describing how each aircraft will be used in
future exhibits, the extent that each aircraft will be restored, and who
is responsible for monitoring the condition of each aircraft.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  GGD-96-9
     TITLE:  Smithsonian Institution: Better Care Needed for National 
             Air and Space Museum Aircraft
      DATE:  10/19/95
   SUBJECT:  Museums
             Site selection
             Federal facilities
             Aircraft
             Historic preservation
             Inventory control
             Cost analysis
             Government facility construction
             Funds management
IDENTIFIER:  Dulles International Airport (VA)
             Stapleton International Airport (Denver, CO)
             Baltimore-Washington International Airport (Baltimore, MD)
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to the Honorable
Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S.  Senate

October 1995

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION - BETTER
CARE NEEDED FOR NATIONAL AIR AND
SPACE MUSEUM AIRCRAFT

GAO/GGD-96-9

National Air and Space Museum Aircraft

(240171)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  AMARC - Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center
  CEPS - Center for Earth and Planetary Studies
  DOD - Department of Defense
  NAPA - National Academy of Public Administration
  NASM - National Air and Space Museum
  NMAH - National Museum of American History
  OMB - Office of Management and Budget

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-260089

October 19, 1995

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senate

Dear Senator Hutchison: 

This report is in response to your request that we review matters
relating to aircraft restoration at the Smithsonian Institution's
National Air and Space Museum (NASM).  Your request was made on
behalf of constituents who were concerned that NASM is not restoring
a sufficient number of historic aircraft in its collection. 

Copies of this report will be distributed to the Secretary of the
Smithsonian, the Acting NASM Director, and cognizant congressional
committees.  Copies will also be made available to others upon
request. 

Major contributors to this report are John Baldwin, Sr., Assistant
Director, and Robert Homan, Evaluator-in-Charge. 

If you have any questions about this report, please call me on (202)
512-8387. 

Sincerely yours,

J.  William Gadsby
Director, Government Business
 Operations Issues


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
============================================================ Chapter 0


   PURPOSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

The National Air and Space Museum (NASM), located on the Mall in
Washington, D.C., has attracted an average of nine million visitors
per year since its opening in 1976.  In December 1994, Senator Kay
Bailey Hutchison was contacted by an historic aircraft organization,
which believed that NASM was not properly managed and in particular
was not restoring a sufficient number of aircraft, thereby allowing
its collection to deteriorate.  GAO was asked to assess the rate of
aircraft restoration; examine the adequacy of facilities for
preserving aircraft; and if preservation problems exist, identify
options to better care for the aircraft collection. 


   BACKGROUND
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

In 1946, Congress passed legislation that the Smithsonian Institution
establish a separate air museum, which became the National Air
Museum.  In 1966, Congress changed the name of the National Air
Museum to NASM and granted the Smithsonian the same functions with
respect to space objects as it had previously granted the Smithsonian
for aviation objects.  Congress indicated that NASM should
"memorialize the national development of aviation and space flight."
The museum was designed to display to the public notable exhibits
comprising the nation's air and space collection, including historic
and scientific aviation "firsts" such as the original Wright Brothers
flyer, Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St.  Louis," and the first
manned spacecraft. 

NASM's aircraft collection now consists of 344 aircraft; 210 of which
are stored at its Paul E.  Garber Preservation, Restoration, and
Storage Facility in Suitland, MD; 62 that are on display at the Mall
museum; 58 that are on loan to other museums; and another 14 that are
stored at three other locations. 

Since the mid-1980s, NASM has planned to build a museum extension at
Dulles International Airport, VA, to provide additional exhibit space
and to replace existing substandard storage and restoration
facilities.  The planned extension is currently expected to cost
about $162 million.  The Smithsonian estimates it will have to raise
$100 million in private money to supplement funds pledged by
Virginia.  NASM recently began formulating a financing plan for the
extension. 

The museum has received considerable media and congressional
attention recently, with its proposed exhibit of the "Enola Gay," the
plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  In January
1995, 81 Members of Congress demanded the NASM Director's
resignation, protesting NASM's proposed interpretation that would
have accompanied the exhibit.  Citing the controversy involving the
exhibit, NASM's former Director resigned in May 1995. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

Although the NASM on the Mall is popular with the public and has
preserved many of our nation's historic air and space artifacts,
management of the aircraft collection at other locations that are not
generally seen by the public needs improvement.  NASM commits
relatively few resources to aircraft restoration, compared to other
museum activities and another federally funded air museum.  But, even
if NASM were to increase its restoration efforts, the museum would
not have adequate space to properly display or store the aircraft. 
Therefore, it is important for NASM to determine how to better
preserve its collection in view of the limited financial resources
available for aircraft restoration and storage, including determining
what size collection can be adequately supported. 

Since NASM was established, certain aspects of the museum's mission
as a national air and space museum have been vague.  For example, the
legislation that created NASM does not specify whether the museum
should duplicate collections at other federally funded air and space
museums or whether a national museum should include foreign aircraft. 
Once NASM's mission is clarified, NASM would be better able to
develop criteria for what constitutes historically and
technologically significant aircraft and, in the context of such
criteria, consider which aircraft it should have in its collection to
fulfill its mission, considering available museum resources and the
adequacy of storage facilities. 

If it is determined that NASM's current collection is too large in
view of the resources and facilities available, options to reduce the
collection size so that the collection can be stored or displayed in
space with adequate environmental controls include deaccessioning\1
aircraft and obtaining second-party restorations by making temporary
loans to other museums.  Using more second- party restorations would
help preserve NASM's collection, alleviate its storage capacity
problems, and help share its collection with the public. 

The planned extension at Dulles Airport could help alleviate NASM's
storage facility problems, but funding is uncertain and the extension
may take several years to complete.  One option that may be available
to reduce costs in the short term, while NASM seeks funds for the
entire extension, would be to limit the new space to the same size as
current storage facilities.  If feasible, this would help NASM
expedite plans to replace its deteriorating storage facilities with
new storage and restoration space at Dulles with proper environmental
controls. 

In addition to storing aircraft in substandard space, NASM does not
have a management plan for each aircraft that describes (1) whether
and how the aircraft will be used in future exhibits, (2) to what
extent and when it will be restored, and (3) who is responsible for
monitoring its condition. 

Collections management staff said that they feel disenfranchised from
the Mall museum, citing management's emphasis on research and
exhibits. 


--------------------
\1 An object is "deaccessioned" when it is removed from a museum's
collection. 


   PRINCIPAL FINDINGS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4


      RELATIVELY FEW RESOURCES
      DEVOTED TO AIRCRAFT
      RESTORATION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.1

In fiscal year 1994, NASM devoted about $2.7 million to collections
management, including restoration, or 14 percent of its total
expenditures of about $20 million.  This excludes time spent by
curators on collections management, which Smithsonian officials said
was not tracked or reported.  NASM currently employs a restoration
staff of 12 individuals, which represents 4 percent of its total
staff of 288, excluding the security force.  The Air Force Museum in
Dayton, OH, another federally funded air and space museum, employs 20
restorers out of a total staff of 90, or 22 percent of its total
staff.\2

In the past 5 years, NASM completed seven restoration projects, while
continuing the restoration of four other projects, at a cost of about
$1.4 million.  These 11 projects included 3 U.S.  aircraft and 8
foreign aircraft.  Assuming that current staff levels remain
constant, the restoration staff continue to spend half of their time
on other work, and no additional aircraft needing work were added to
the collection, GAO estimated that it would take about 100 years to
restore aircraft that need work. 

NASM's collections management staff at the Garber facility said that
since so much attention is placed on exhibits and research, they feel
disenfranchised from the museum on Washington's Mall.  Their chief
concerns were that (1) aircraft restoration is given a relatively low
priority; (2) too much of their time is spent on tasks other than
restoration; (3) additional restoration work on aircraft is required
because the collection has not been properly maintained; (4) NASM's
management does not have adequate backgrounds in museums, aircraft,
or spacecraft; and (5) little interaction occurs between restoration
staff and NASM curators.  (See p.  22 for a detailed list of these
concerns along with management's responses.) While these concerns
were not the focus of GAO's review, some of them could be explained
by communications problems and different perspectives from
management.  GAO also noted that many of the concerns have persisted
for years without being resolved.  NASM managers, including the
former director,\3 said that exhibits do not take away funds from
aircraft restoration because exhibits generally are privately funded. 
Managers also said that they have tried to obtain increased funding
for collections management but have not been successful.  In
commenting on a draft of this report, Smithsonian officials said that
feelings of disenfranchisement on the part of the collections
management staff resulted from a number of factors, most notably
resource-related matters. 


--------------------
\2 The ratio of restorers to total staff at NASM and the Air Force
Museum may not be directly comparable because of differences in the
museums' funding, number of visitors, condition of aircraft, and
other factors. 

\3 NASM's former director resigned on May 2, 1995. 


      STORAGE FACILITIES DO NOT
      PROVIDE ADEQUATE
      PRESERVATION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.2

Even if NASM were to devote more resources to restoration, the museum
does not have adequate storage facilities to protect aircraft and
related artifacts from deterioration.  A NASM conservation assessment
undertaken from 1991 to 1994 examined the condition of 13 storage
buildings at the Garber facility and the condition of the artifacts. 
The assessment indicated that the buildings had wide temperature
fluctuations, leaky roofs, structural problems, and dirt and dust
accumulation.  The aircraft and other artifacts were deteriorating as
a result. 

The Smithsonian spent $9.1 million in the past 10 years to improve
the Garber facility, and Smithsonian officials said that the facility
needs at least an additional $7.4 million in repairs over the next 5
years.\4 However, Smithsonian officials responsible for maintaining
and repairing all museum facilities said that it is unlikely that
NASM will receive the needed repair funds because it must compete
with other Smithsonian facilities for scarce repair funds.  NASM also
has a $33.8 million backlog of deferred maintenance and repair at the
museum on the Mall. 

GAO identified two options to partially address this concern.  NASM
could decrease the size of its collection by deaccessioning items
with less historical and technological significance and could
undertake second-party restoration loans.  Second-party restoration
loans involve loaning NASM aircraft to other museums for display over
a temporary period, such as 10 years, in exchange for having them
restored to NASM standards.  Although NASM deaccessioned 11 aircraft
in the past 5 years, it has not made the difficult decisions on what
aircraft could be removed from the collection or developed a strategy
to find additional museums that might be interested in restoration
loans. 


--------------------
\4 The Smithsonian estimates that 35 percent of these improvements
were made for NASM's share of the Garber facility, which is also used
by other Smithsonian museums. 


      NASM'S FUTURE PLANS ARE
      UNCERTAIN
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.3

NASM has relied on a planned 670,000 square-foot extension facility
at Dulles Airport to replace the Garber facility and allow for the
acquisition of aircraft that cannot be transferred to the Mall museum
as the solution to its storage problems.  However, it is unclear when
or whether the extension will be built, given the uncertainty
surrounding the museum's ability to raise at least $100 million in
private funds needed for its construction. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

GAO is recommending that the new NASM Director and Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution consult with Congress to better define the
mission of NASM.  Once that has been done, the new NASM Director and
the Secretary should determine the relative priority of the aircraft
in the NASM collection and the number and types of aircraft that can
be adequately supported.  If the size of the collection needs to be
reduced, NASM should consider accomplishing that through more
emphasis on deaccessioning and loaning out aircraft.  For those
aircraft that remain in the collection, GAO is recommending that NASM
develop a management plan for each aircraft, which includes (1)
whether and how the aircraft will be used in future exhibits, (2) to
what extent it will be restored and when, and (3) who will be
responsible for monitoring its condition.  GAO is also recommending
that NASM develop a plan to increase the interaction of the
collections management staff and the curators.  In addition, GAO is
recommending that NASM further explore private funding alternatives
and the feasibility of options to better care for the current
collection, such as constructing an initial phase of the Dulles
Airport extension facility. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

GAO requested comments on a draft of this report from the Secretary
of the Smithsonian or his designee.  The Under Secretary provided
written comments, which are discussed in chapter 5. 

The Smithsonian recognized a number of issues raised in this report
and said it is working to address them.  The Smithsonian said that
the greatest challenges are the lack of adequate storage space and
inadequate resources to do all of the things that must be done.  The
Smithsonian disagreed with some of GAO's findings and indirectly
disagreed with some of GAO's proposed solutions to the collections
care problems.  As discussed in chapter 5, GAO evaluated the
Smithsonian's comments and clarified its findings where appropriate
but still believes its recommendations would help solve NASM's
resource problems and help ensure that the NASM aircraft collection
is better cared for. 


INTRODUCTION
============================================================ Chapter 1


   BACKGROUND
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:1

Since its opening in 1976, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air
and Space Museum (NASM), located on the Mall in Washington, D.C., has
attracted an average of nine million visitors per year.  It received
the most visitors in 1984, with 14.4 million.  The museum had 8.2
million visitors in 1993 and 8.5 million visitors in 1994. 

Since 1976, 106 aircraft have been on display at the Mall museum.  Of
NASM's 344 aircraft, 62 are currently on display at the Mall museum
and seen by millions of visitors to the museum.  Of the remaining 282
aircraft, 210 are stored at the Paul E.  Garber Preservation,
Restoration, and Storage Facility, Suitland, MD;\1 58 are on loan to
and exhibited by other museums;\2 12 are stored at Dulles
International Airport, VA; 1 is stored at the Department of Defense's
(DOD) Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC), Tucson,
AZ;\3 and 1 is at Andrews Air Force Base, MD.  NASM estimates that
245 of the 344 aircraft are exhibitable, 55 need minor work to become
exhibitable, and 44 need major restoration work.  Since the early
1980s, NASM has planned to build an extension facility at Dulles
International Airport to replace the Garber facility and to display
large aircraft that cannot be shown at the Mall museum. 

The Smithsonian's earliest acquisition of aviation artifacts was made
in 1876, when it received kites from the Imperial Chinese government
to celebrate the American Centennial celebration.  In 1905, the
Smithsonian acquired its first flying machine, Langley Aerodrome No. 
5, a model aircraft that made the first successful flight of any
unmanned, engine-driven aircraft.  Several other aircraft were added
to the Smithsonian's collection before World War I, including the
1909 Wright Military Flyer, the world's first military airplane. 

In the decade after World War I, the Smithsonian acquired several
World War I aircraft.  Paul E.  Garber, a Smithsonian employee with
an interest in airplanes who joined the Smithsonian in 1920, arranged
for the Smithsonian to acquire the "Spirit of St.  Louis" in 1928, a
year after Charles Lindbergh's historic solo flight across the
Atlantic Ocean.  During the 1930s, the Smithsonian added many
historic aircraft to its collection, which was housed in a small
metal building behind the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building
in Washington, D.C. 

In 1946, Congress passed legislation that the Smithsonian establish a
separate air museum, which became the National Air Museum. 

Mr.  Garber also obtained many of the Smithsonian's World War II
aircraft from a collection assembled by Army Air Force General Hap
Arnold, who believed that it was in the national interest to obtain
one example of each type of World War II aircraft, including captured
enemy aircraft.  After World War II, most of these aircraft were
stored in an automobile factory building in Park Ridge, IL, until the
government sought to reactivate the factory for the Korean War in
1950.  That collection subsequently was divided between the
Smithsonian and the Air Force.  The Smithsonian's then newly
organized National Air Museum acquired its share of the collection,
which was moved to a 21-acre tract of federally owned land, located
by Mr.  Garber, in Suitland, MD, about 7 miles from Washington, D.C. 
The aircraft were mainly stored outside at Suitland from the early
1950s until they were moved into temporary storage buildings that
were constructed primarily in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. 

In 1966, Congress changed the name of the National Air Museum to the
National Air and Space Museum and granted the Smithsonian the same
functions with respect to space objects as it had previously granted
the Smithsonian for aviation objects.  Congress indicated that NASM
should

     "memorialize the national development of aviation and space
     flight; collect, preserve, and display aeronautical and space
     flight equipment of historical interest and significance; serve
     as a repository for scientific equipment and data pertaining to
     the development of aviation and space flight; and provide
     educational material for the historical study of aviation and
     space flight."\4

According to the legislative history, the museum was designed to
display to the public notable exhibits comprising the nation's air
and space collection, including historic and scientific "firsts" such
as the original Wright Brothers flyer, the first to fly at Kitty Hawk
in 1903; Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St.  Louis," the first solo
across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927; the first Earth satellites; and
Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 and John Glenn's Friendship 7, the first
manned spacecraft in the Mercury program.  Testifying before Congress
in 1964, the Director of the National Air Museum said that the museum
".  .  .  cannot accept one of each airplane and launch vehicle.  We
accept only those of great historical significance."\5 The
congressional report accompanying the authorizing legislation
emphasized that NASM would make possible for the first time a
comprehensive presentation to the public of the notable exhibits
comprising the nation's air and space collections. 

NASM's collection tracks the country's early developments of flight
to the most recent space ventures.  Although NASM's collection
contains some military aircraft, the museum's focus is not military
aviation.  By contrast, other federally funded aviation museums, such
as the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, and the Naval Aviation Museum
in Pensacola, FL, primarily display military aircraft.  Further, NASM
does not display replicas but restores aircraft to original, although
not flyable, condition.  NASM's restorations involve using original
parts or locating similar parts, or constructing the parts if they
cannot be found. 

Some officials in other air and space museums told us that NASM has
very high restoration standards--standards that they said their
museums generally could not afford to meet.  The Director of the Air
Force Museum, for example, said that NASM "wrote the book on aircraft
restoration," and that NASM's restoration process is "excruciatingly
thorough and detailed." The Air Force Museum Director also said that
the museum cannot afford to follow NASM's restoration standards and
must make compromises in seeking originality.  The Director of the
Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, AZ, told us that NASM's restoration
process is more tedious than Champlin's.  An official from the Pima
Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ, told us that his museum tries to
put acquired aircraft on display as soon as possible, limiting
restoration work to cosmetic changes.  The former director said that
NASM's high standards are intentional and are designed to allow
researchers in the future to study the materials and technology
originally used to construct aircraft. 


--------------------
\1 NASM also has on display 68 aircraft at the Garber Facility, which
received about 18,000 visitors last year. 

\2 Three additional aircraft are pending shipment from Garber for
loan to other museums. 

\3 NASM also has a Boeing 707 fuselage and a Convair C-131E at AMARC,
which have not been entered as part of the collection but were
acquired for parts. 

\4 P.L.  89-509. 

\5 Hearings on S.2602 to amend P.L.  722 of the 79th Congress and
P.L.  85-935, relating to the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian
Institution, before the Subcommittee on the Smithsonian Institution
of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, 88th Congress,
2nd Session, 22 (1964). 


   FUNDING
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2

NASM operates on both federal funds, used primarily for employee
salaries, and private donations, which largely fund exhibits.\6 In
fiscal year 1994, NASM received about $15.4 million in federal
appropriations, grants, and contracts for salaries, travel, research,
and supplies.  It also received $10.6 million in nongovernmental
funds, such as private donations and theater and gift shop revenues. 
Table 1.1 details the sources of NASM funding for fiscal year 1994. 



                               Table 1.1
                
                Sources of NASM Funding for Fiscal Year
                                  1994

                                                          Amount spent
                                                                (as of
                                                Amount   September 30,
Source of funds                               received           1994)
----------------------------------------  ------------  --------------
Federal appropriation\a                    $12,210,000     $12,210,000
Government grants\b                          2,950,540         573,784
Grants-government contracts\c                  287,093         106,475
Nongovernment grants                           252,430          49,278
Restricted endowments\d                        296,582         113,232
Unrestricted endowments                        342,219         185,778
Gifts                                        2,014,376         315,582
Special purpose\e                            1,598,835         430,328
Bureau discretionary\f                       1,838,910       1,798,495
Bureau auxiliary\g                           3,548,465       3,548,465
Reimbursements\h                               451,795         451,795
======================================================================
Total                                      $25,791,245     $19,783,212
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:  Excluded above are expenditures for NASM's facilities repairs
and its security force, which are paid for separately by the
Smithsonian.  In fiscal year 1994, the Smithsonian spent $613,453 on
NASM facilities repairs and $2.9 million on NASM's security force,
which consists of about 76 personnel. 

\a Includes salaries and benefits, travel, and supplies. 

\b Government grants include funds made available from governmental
sources at the federal, state, or local level to support specific
types of research, education, or other projects. 

\c The government contracts listed in this category are agreements
with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the
National Research Laboratory to provide funding for specific research
projects. 

\d Endowments are funded from the interest on the invested principal. 
The uses for restricted endowments are set by the terms of the
original endowment. 

\e Special purpose funds are those funded by the Smithsonian for
special exhibits and scholarly studies. 

\f The sources of discretionary funds include revenue sharing from
auxiliary activities, such as the NASM theater, shops, royalties, and
honoraria. 

\g Bureau auxiliary funds are revenue producing activities such as
the museum theater that are initiated as a means of providing
additional resources to accomplish their missions.  At the end of the
fiscal year, two-thirds of these funds are transferred to the NASM
discretionary fund and one-third to the Smithsonian general fund. 

\h Reimbursements are made by other organizations for federal
personnel costs and other expenses, such as travel costs, that are
incurred by the Smithsonian as a result of providing services. 

Source:  NASM. 

Of the $26 million of funds received in fiscal year 1994, NASM spent
about $20 million, as of September 30, 1994.  About $6 million of the
funds received included revenue from endowments, grants, and gifts
that will not be paid out until later years.  Table 1.2 shows fiscal
year 1994 NASM expenditures in the categories that the museum
maintains for its budget data. 



                               Table 1.2
                
                   Fiscal Year 1994 NASM Expenditures

Category of expenditure                                         Amount
------------------------------------------------------  --------------
Office of the Director\a                                    $2,129,000
Art                                                            112,000
Space history                                                1,020,000
Archives\b                                                     691,000
Public affairs                                                 299,000
Computer services                                              567,000
Development/special                                            438,000
Facilities management\b                                        249,000
Aeronautics                                                  1,409,000
Collections management\b                                     1,785,000
Exhibits                                                     1,461,000
Audiovisual                                                    586,000
Exhibits production                                            793,000
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies                       1,033,000
Planetarium                                                    900,000
Langley Theater                                              2,889,000
Education                                                      535,000
Lab for astrophysics                                           600,000
Building management\c                                        2,283,000
======================================================================
Total                                                    $19,779,000\d
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a Includes salaries of the director, an astrophysicist, and 14 other
positions. 

\b Funding for the Collections Management Department includes the
categories of archives, facilities management, and collections
management.  The facilities management category pertains to expenses
incurred at the Suitland, MD, and Dulles Airport, VA, facilities for
routine maintenance, such as cleaning and snow removal. 

\c The building management category pertains to the Mall museum
building only and includes services such as cleaning and routine,
minor maintenance. 

\d Does not agree with figure for total spent provided in table 1.1
because of rounding. 

Source:  NASM. 


--------------------
\6 According to NASM, over the past 5 years, $802,173 in federal
funds were spent on the museum's exhibits, and the remainder,
$3,352,500, was provided by other sources, such as corporate
donations and Smithsonian trust funds. 


   OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND
   METHODOLOGY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:3

In December 1994, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was contacted by an
historic aircraft organization, which said that NASM was not properly
managed and in particular was not restoring a sufficient number of
aircraft, thereby allowing its collection to deteriorate.  We were
asked to assess the rate of aircraft restoration; examine the
adequacy of facilities for preserving aircraft; and if preservation
problems exist, identify options to better care for the aircraft
collection. 

To obtain information about the formation of the Smithsonian's
aircraft collection, we reviewed the legislative history of NASM and
historical materials written about the museum and its collection.  We
also obtained and analyzed NASM data regarding the current number and
aircraft in its collection, their condition and location, and the
costs of aircraft restoration and storage.  We inspected NASM's Paul
E.  Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in
Suitland, MD, NASM aircraft stored at Dulles International Airport,
VA, and DOD's AMARC in Tucson, AZ.  To obtain information about
NASM's plans to collect additional aircraft, we reviewed the museum's
collections rationales for aircraft and space objects. 

At NASM, we interviewed staff involved in aircraft restoration and
preservation, including the Assistant Director for Collections
Management, the conservator, 10 restorers, 3 volunteers, and 4 other
collections management staff; 5 curators; the former senior curator;
the Senior Advisor to the Director; and the former director.  We
selected NASM employees based on their involvement with managing the
collection for our interviews.  Some of the individuals we
interviewed contacted us on their own initiative to provide
information. 

To compare NASM's restoration and preservation practices with other
federally funded museums, we visited and interviewed officials from
the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, and the Smithsonian Institution's
National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and obtained
data from these museums about their restoration staffing levels.  We
also visited and interviewed officials from the Champlin Fighter
Museum in Mesa, AZ, about its restoration of an airplane for NASM
under contract. 

To compare restoration and preservation practices at a nonprofit
museum that receives no government funds, we visited and interviewed
an official from the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ.  We
also interviewed other individuals knowledgeable about NASM's
restoration and preservation policies and practices, including the
Director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum in San Diego, CA, and the
Air Force Historian.  We also reviewed reports from 1988 to 1994 of
the Research and Collections Management Advisory Committee, an
advisory group consisting of academic and museum professionals that
was formed by the most recent NASM Director to provide senior
management with outside reviews of museum programs.\7 In addition, we
interviewed the Advisory Committee Chairman and one of the committee
members. 

We obtained and reviewed materials relating to NASM's planned
extension at Dulles Airport, including space requirements, financing,
and future aircraft acquisitions plans.  We also reviewed the
legislative history regarding the extension and interviewed NASM
officials involved in planning the project. 

To obtain information on repairs needed, recently made, and scheduled
for NASM facilities, we interviewed staff and analyzed data from the
Smithsonian's Office of Design and Construction. 

As agreed with Senator Hutchison's office, we focused on NASM's
collection of 344 aircraft and did not focus on the 8,000 spaceflight
items and 23,800 other artifacts in the NASM collection. 

We did our work from January through June 1995 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.  Our work was done
in the Washington, D.C., area; Dayton, OH; Mesa, AZ; and Tucson, AZ. 
We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Secretary of
the Smithsonian or his designee.  The Smithsonian's written comments
are included in appendix III and discussed and evaluated in chapter
5. 


--------------------
\7 From 1988 to 1991, the committee was called the Collections
Management Advisory Committee, after which the committee was renamed
the Research and Collections Management Advisory Committee. 


NASM PAYS RELATIVELY LITTLE
ATTENTION TO AIRCRAFT RESTORATION
============================================================ Chapter 2

In fiscal year 1994, NASM devoted about 14 percent of its total
expenditures on collections management, including aircraft
restoration.  Management has no firm plans for restoring each
aircraft in the collection and has no recognized standards against
which to monitor the productivity of the restoration staff.  NASM's
collections management staff, who work at the Garber facility in
Suitland, MD, said that so much attention is placed on exhibits and
research, they generally feel disenfranchised from the Washington,
D.C., Mall museum staff.  NASM management responded that because
exhibits are generally privately funded, they do not take away funds
from aircraft restoration.  Further, management officials said that
they have consistently requested increased funding for collections
management, even though those efforts have not been successful. 


   RESTORATION EFFORTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:1

NASM currently employs 12 individuals who work on aircraft
restoration out of a total staff of 288, or 4 percent of its
workforce.\1 The Air Force Museum, another federally funded air
museum, employs 20 restorers out of 90 total staff, or 22 percent. 
The ratio of restorers to total staff at NASM and the Air Force
Museum may not be directly comparable, however, because of
differences in the museums' funding, condition of aircraft, number of
visitors, and other factors. 

In fiscal year 1994, NASM devoted about $2.7 million to collections
management, or 14 percent of its total expenditures.  NASM's
collections management department staff work mainly at the Paul E. 
Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland,
MD.  Collections management personnel who work at the Garber facility
include the restoration staff; personnel who handle the shipping,
receiving, and storage of artifacts; the conservator's staff; and the
archival staff.  The Garber facility contains the restoration shop,
stored aircraft and spacecraft and related parts and artifacts, and
film storage.  Public access is limited to 3 of the 13 storage
buildings at the Garber facility, plus the restoration shop.  The
archival staff work both at the Garber facility and at the Mall
museum, where the photo collections are stored.  The collections
management department also includes the registrar, who maintains the
official object records at the Mall museum.  Collections management
personnel also maintain the 12 aircraft and 2 hangars that NASM has
at Dulles Airport. 

NASM's restoration staff told us they spend about half of their time
working on tasks other than restoration, such as delivering and
hanging aircraft, training and supervising interns and volunteers,
performing maintenance on shop equipment, research, and
administrative work. 

During the past 5 years, NASM completed seven restoration projects,
while continuing the restoration of four other projects.  These 11
projects involved 3 U.S.  aircraft and 8 foreign aircraft.  NASM
spent about $1.4 million to restore 9 of the 11 aircraft; it did not
maintain cost records for the other 2.  The largest project
undertaken was the restoration of the "Enola Gay," which took over 10
years to complete at a cost of about $809,000.  During the past 5
years, NASM spent a total of $11.3 million for collections
management.  Table 2.2 shows a list of restoration projects that NASM
worked on from 1990 to 1995. 



                               Table 2.2
                
                NASM Aircraft Restoration Projects From
                              1990 to 1995

                                                        Work
Type of aircraft                  Project time       hours\a      Cost
--------------------------------  ----------------  --------  --------
Hawker-Hurricane (World War II    Started June        17,943  $231,571
 British fighter)                  1988, not yet
                                   completed
B-29 "Enola Gay" (World War II    December 1984-      57,646   808,948
 U.S. bomber)                      May 1995
Voisin (World War I French        April 1989-          7,273   104,709
 bomber)                           June 1991
Aichi Serian (World War II        Started June        12,276   178,156
 Japanese attack plane)            1989, not yet
                                   completed
Pflaz D XII (World War I German   March 1991-            589    10,949
 fighter)                          May 1991
FE-8 (World War I British         May 1991-              767    14,796
 reconnaissance plane)             August 1991
Fokker D.VII (World War I German  1991                    no
 fighter)                          (repainting)      records
                                                    availabl
                                                         e\b
Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe (World War I   1992                    no
 British fighter)                  (recovering)      records
                                                    availabl
                                                         e\b
Stinson SR-10 Reliant (1930 U.S.  September 1992-      3,628    38,014
 mail plane)                       April 1993
Langley Aerodrome Model 5 (model  Started January        470     6,808
 aircraft)                         1994, not yet
                                   completed
Ohka 22 Baka (World War II        Started October      4,218     3,966
 Japanese bomber)                  1993, not yet
                                   completed
======================================================================
Total                                                104,810  $1,397,9
                                                                    17
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:  The restoration costs shown reflect only the staff salaries
and do not include the costs of equipment, materials, and overhead. 

\a Does not reflect some projects for which work hours and costs were
not recorded, such as on-site preservation of the "Spirit of St. 
Louis" and repainting and preservation of the P-47. 

\b These projects were staffed exclusively by volunteers with only
general oversight by the paid staff; workhours were not recorded. 

Source:  NASM. 

NASM's former Senior Curator, who still works at the museum as a
volunteer, told us that the restoration staff's productivity has
decreased in recent years.  He attributed that productivity decline
to (1) the restoration staff being diverted from restoration to other
tasks, (2) little or no interest shown by the museum management in
restoration, and (3) a decrease in the curators' involvement in
restoration. 

Although NASM prepares a yearly restoration schedule, it does not
have a long-range plan for which aircraft it plans to restore beyond
the coming year or specifically what work is needed for each airplane
in the collection.  Further, NASM does not determine the relative
importance of each aircraft or whether and how each aircraft will be
used in future exhibits.  In commenting on a draft of this report,
Smithsonian officials said it was more important to explain why an
aircraft was collected and what role it plays in the collection than
to plan its use in future exhibits. 

NASM does not use any work measurement standards or other estimates
of the time it should take to prepare work or aircraft restorations. 
The Assistant Director for Collections Management told us that she
does not have a technical background in aircraft restoration and does
not know how long the restoration work should take.  She said that
she relies on the restoration shop foreman to evaluate the
restoration staff's performance and provide technical guidance to
them. 

At our request, NASM estimated the amount of time it would take to
restore all aircraft currently in its collection that needed work. 
NASM said that of the 344 aircraft in its collection, 245 were
exhibitable, 55 needed minor work to become exhibitable, and 44
needed major restoration work.  Assuming that a 12-person restoration
staff worked full-time on restoring aircraft, NASM estimated in May
1995 that it would take about 52 years to restore the 99 aircraft. 
However, since the restoration staff told us they spend only half of
their time on restoring aircraft, we estimated that it would take
about 100 years to restore the 99 airplanes, assuming that no
additional aircraft needing work were added to the collection, the
current staffing trends continue, and the restoration staff continue
to spend half of their time on other work. 

When we asked about the rate of restoration at NASM, the former NASM
Director said that he saw no need to accelerate the restoration
backlog or to plan NASM's restoration work for the next 50 years
because too many changes in restoration techniques would occur over
that period.  He said that because of the cost of restoring the
"Enola Gay," NASM has adopted a new policy whereby any large planes
will be accepted only if they do not need restoration work.  He added
that the museum's mission is broader than restoration and includes
research and education, which also have to be supported. 

The former director also said that it is harder to obtain additional
resources for collections management from outside sources than it is
for exhibits.  He said that NASM had received some private donations
in recent years, including a $250,000 corporate gift that was made
after loaning spacecraft and aircraft to Japan, new paint-mixing
equipment worth $50,000 from a U.S.  corporation, an airplane hangar
at Dulles Airport worth $100,000 from a group of local construction
companies, $27,000 for the "Enola Gay" restoration from veterans, and
restoration of two engines of the "Enola Gay" by the San Diego
Aerospace Museum. 


--------------------
\1 NASM differentiates between restoration and preservation of its
collection.  Restoration is defined as bringing an artifact back to
its original state, while preservation is defined as maintaining the
aircraft to prevent future deterioration.  The total staff of 288
does not include the 76 employees involved in providing security of
NASM, who are paid for by the Smithsonian.  Also, NASM said that in
1994, volunteer restorers contributed an equivalent of 2.3 staff
years of effort at NASM. 


   COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT STAFF
   GENERALLY FEEL DISENFRANCHISED
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:2

We asked members of the collections management staff, including the
Assistant Director for Collections Management, the conservator, 10
restorers, 4 employees involved in maintaining the collection, and 3
volunteers, about the rate of aircraft restoration.  The staff
generally were not satisfied with the current restoration efforts at
the museum and indicated that they felt disenfranchised from the
curators and management at the Mall museum. 

The collections management staff said that (1) collections
management, including aircraft restoration, is given a low priority
compared to other museum activities, such as exhibits, research,
publishing, the Laboratory for Astrophysics, and the Center for Earth
and Planetary Studies (CEPS);\2 (2) too much of their time is spent
on tasks other than restoration; (3) additional restoration work is
required on aircraft because the collection has not been properly
maintained; (4) NASM's management staff and some curators do not
provide effective leadership because they do not have adequate
backgrounds in museums, aircraft, or spacecraft; (5) little
interaction occurs between the restoration staff and the curators;
(6) management wasted funds when it recently held a 3-day retreat
outside of Washington, D.C.; and (7) some recent exhibits, such as
one on Barbie dolls, contain few or no aircraft. 

We asked NASM management to comment on these concerns.  Management's
primary responses were that (1) exhibits are generally privately
funded and do not take away funds from restoration; (2) the
collections management department is tasked with many
responsibilities in addition to aircraft restoration; (3) NASM's
requests for increased funding for collections management have been
rejected by the Smithsonian or the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB); (4) NASM's management staff have backgrounds in museums,
aircraft, and management; (5) the Smithsonian requires curators to
spend time on research and publishing; (6) the retreat was useful to
prepare the museum's mission statement; and (7) that one manager had
opposed creating new exhibits with few or no artifacts. 

A comparison of the collections management staff's views and
management's responses to them is provided in table 2.3. 



                               Table 2.3
                
                 Collections Management Staff Concerns
                        and Management Responses

Staff concerns                      Management responses
----------------------------------  ----------------------------------
Collections management, including   Exhibits are generally privately
aircraft restoration, is given a    funded and do not take away funds
low priority compared to other      from restoration.
museum programs, such as exhibits,
research, publishing, the           Research and publishing are
Laboratory for Astrophysics, and    required for curatorial
CEPS.                               positions.

                                    The Laboratory for Astrophysics
                                    and CEPS are directly related to
                                    the museum's mission, and the
                                    research generated by them is
                                    incorporated in the galleries and
                                    public programs. The Smithsonian
                                    only pays for three of the
                                    astrophysics lab staff salaries,
                                    while all of the lab's other
                                    expenses, including three other
                                    staff, are funded through grants
                                    from other agencies that would not
                                    be used for aircraft restoration.

                                    Museums are not only about
                                    technology. They should also tell
                                    stories, not just display inert
                                    objects.

The restoration staff's time is     NASM tasks its small Collections
spent on too many tasks other than  Management Department with many
restoration.                        responsibilities. The staff's
                                    efforts to care for and preserve
                                    the collection are diluted to meet
                                    an ambitious exhibitions program,
                                    safety and health regulations, and
                                    by sharing the collection with
                                    others around the world.

Additional restoration work is      NASM has consistently requested
required because the collection     additional funding for collections
has not been properly preserved.    management, but the requests have
                                    been turned down by the
                                    Smithsonian or OMB. NASM must
                                    compete with other Smithsonian
                                    museums for repair funds, and
                                    other museums have higher
                                    priorities than repairing the
                                    Garber facility. The planned
                                    Dulles extension should provide
                                    NASM with a new restoration shop
                                    and storage facilities.

NASM's management staff does not    Some of NASM's managers do have
have adequate backgrounds in        backgrounds in museums, aircraft,
museums, aircraft, and spacecraft.  and spacecraft, and some managers
                                    have other valuable skills and
                                    backgrounds, such as management.

Little interaction occurs between   The Smithsonian requires curators
the restoration staff and the       to spend time on research and
curators. The curators rarely       publishing. The curators do not
visit the Garber facility.          need to visit the Garber facility
                                    unless they are working on a
                                    project involving the artifacts.

Management wasted funds when it     The retreat was an opportunity to
recently held a 3-day staff         prepare the museum's mission
retreat outside of Washington,      statement and was useful.
D.C.

Some exhibits contain few or no     The purpose of the Barbie doll
aircraft, such as an exhibit of     exhibit is to "engage the interest
Barbie dolls.                       of very young female children with
                                    a display of dolls representing
                                    some of the changing roles of
                                    women in aerospace." The Mattel
                                    Corporation is paying for the
                                    $5,678 exhibit cost.
                                    One manager said that she had
                                    opposed creating new exhibits with
                                    few or no artifacts.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Source:  NASM collections management staff and management officials. 

The concerns raised in table 2.3 and NASM's responses show a high
level of disagreement and morale problems among the staff who are
responsible for preserving and restoring NASM's artifacts.  While
these concerns were not the focus of our review, our overall work in
the management area indicates that some of the conflict that exists
could be explained by communications problems and the different
perspectives of collections management staff and NASM management. 

NASM's focus on research and exhibits, compared to collections
management, also has been cited by the Research and Collections
Management Advisory Committee, an advisory group formed by the former
NASM Director and consisting of academic and museum professionals. 
The committee's 1994 report indicated that curators perceive that
research and exhibition are the only work that counts for
advancement, and as a result, many do not spend time with the
collection, visit the Garber facility, or address collections issues
on an ongoing basis. 

In its 1990 report, the Advisory Committee raised the same concerns
expressed to us 5 years later by the collections management staff. 
The 1990 report said that

     "the leadership of the Museum must continue to focus its
     attention on collections management issues.  The perception
     amongst the staff is that the Director is most interested in and
     concerned with research, publication, exhibition, and
     scholarship generally, and while the Committee knows of the
     leadership's dedication to the collection and its care, it
     believes that this commitment needs continually to be
     communicated outward to the rest of the staff:  to the curators,
     who need to be reminded of the realities of limits and
     resources; and to the collections management staff, which often
     must struggle internally inside the Museum to get the attention
     and cooperation of other staff."

Morale problems among the collections management staff are not new. 
According to a 1982 book by a former NASM Director, in the early
years of the Garber facility, "a split developed, whereby the people
at Silver Hill regarded themselves and were regarded as blue-collar
renegades, necessary, but somehow not part of the Smithsonian."\3 The
author added that no one really knew or cared how hard and how well
the Silver Hill crew was working.  In 1994, the Advisory Committee
noted that friction between the curators and collections management
staff remained, in spite of improved dialogue and increased contact. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, Smithsonian officials said
that feelings of disenfranchisement on the part of the collections
management staff resulted from a number of factors, most notably
resource-related matters. 

A NASM Collections Management Advisory Committee member also
expressed the view that NASM management and exhibits appeared to be
geared more toward pleasing academic peers than the public, and that
exhibits have too much interpretation of the role that aircraft and
spacecraft played in history and society.  He cited, for example, the
criticism that occurred with respect to the interpretation that was
contained in a proposed script for the exhibit of the "Enola Gay,"
the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.  In
January 1995, 81 Members of Congress wrote to the Secretary of the
Smithsonian, complaining that the former director's actions in
drafting the exhibit script "were a slap in the face to all the
parties who contributed their time and expertise in creating an
exhibit that best reflects the contributions that all Americans made
to the culmination of World War II" and demanding the NASM Director's
resignation.  On May 2, 1995, the NASM Director resigned, citing the
controversy involving the exhibit, which received considerable media
attention.  NASM is now displaying only part of the plane, without
extensive commentary. 


--------------------
\2 CEPS and the Laboratory for Astrophysics are scientific research
units of NASM.  According to NASM, research at CEPS is focused on
"geological and other processes acting to modify the earth's surface
and those of the other terrestrial planets." The Laboratory for
Astrophysics is charged with conducting basic research in astronomy
and astrophysics.  Budget data provided by NASM indicated that
federal funds, including grants and contracts with other agencies,
accounted for $920,000 of the $1,033,000 cost of operating CEPS and
$566,000 of the $600,000 to run the astrophysics lab in fiscal year
1994. 

\3 In the book, The Aircraft Treasures of Silver Hill, by Walter
Boyne (New York:  Rawson Associates), 1982, the Garber facility is
also referred to as Silver Hill. 


STORAGE FACILITIES DO NOT PROVIDE
ADEQUATE PRESERVATION
============================================================ Chapter 3

Even if NASM were to restore more aircraft, the museum does not have
adequate storage facilities to protect them from deterioration. 
Current conditions are much improved since the time when much of the
collection was stored outdoors, and some repairs have been made in
recent years to the Garber facility.  However, the buildings in which
the aircraft are stored do not have humidity controls or
air-conditioning, and only a few are heated.  As a result, the
collection in storage is continuing to deteriorate, including
previously restored aircraft.  NASM has consistently requested
increased funding for collections management and for storage
facilities repairs in recent years, but NASM must compete with other
Smithsonian museums for limited resources and has been unable to
obtain needed funding.  In the absence of additional funding, NASM
has not developed a strategy to pursue alternatives to lessen the
storage burden, such as loaning aircraft to other museums for 5 to 10
years for display in exchange for their restoring the aircraft for
NASM or deaccessioning items with less historical or technological
significance. 


   INADEQUATE STORAGE FACILITIES
   ARE CAUSING THE COLLECTION TO
   DETERIORATE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:1

The Smithsonian's collections management policy, issued in May 1992,
requires museums to ensure that collections are maintained in
conditions intended to preserve and extend physical integrity.  Under
the policy, prudent collections management requires the
identification and elimination or reduction of damage to the
collection, such as deterioration.  The National Park Service, which
has prepared guidance on museum collection policies, indicates that
collections should be maintained in storage facilities with
appropriate levels of relative humidity and temperature.\1

Much of NASM's aircraft collection was stored outside in Suitland,
MD, from the early 1950s until they were moved into temporary storage
buildings that were constructed primarily in the 1950s, 1960s, and
early 1970s.  Although moving the aircraft indoors was an improvement
over storing them outdoors, the Garber storage facilities are still
not environmentally controlled.  The wood, fabric, and even metals
used in aircraft are susceptible to deterioration and corrosion when
exposed to great differences in temperature and humidity, even though
aircraft may be protected from rain and snow.  Storing the aircraft
outdoors and later in facilities that were not environmentally
controlled caused aircraft in the collection to deteriorate, which
meant that additional restoration work had to be done. 

NASM currently has 236,300 square feet of storage space at the Garber
facility, including the restoration shop, and 50,200 square feet of
space at Dulles Airport, or a total of 286,500 square feet.  Of the
286,500 square feet of space for storage and the restoration shop,
101,500 square feet are heated.  The storage space is overcrowded and
lacks humidity controls.  Overcrowding has resulted in 5 of NASM's
344 aircraft being stored outdoors:  2 are at Dulles International
Airport; 1 is at AMARC in Tucson, AZ;\2 1 is at Andrews Air Force
Base, MD; and 1 is on loan at the Pima Air and Space Museum in
Tucson. 

From 1991 to 1994, NASM undertook a conservation assessment,
examining the condition of the museum's 13 storage buildings at the
Garber facility and the condition of the artifacts contained in them. 
According to the assessment, the buildings and artifacts are
suffering from wide temperature fluctuations, leaky roofs, structural
problems, and dirt and dust accumulation.  Moreover, the reports
indicated that the building conditions are promoting the
deterioration of the collection, including restored aircraft.  For
example, the assessment on a building that contains restored aircraft
indicated that "the restoration process alone cannot be considered a
solution because many restored objects in Building 20 are
deteriorating .  .  .  .  Almost all recently restored aircraft in
Building 20 have evidence of corrosion." Excerpts from the reports
are contained in appendix I. 

The conservation assessment also commented on overall preservation
practices at the Garber facility.  According to a June 1993 report,
"[t]he condition of many objects stored at the Garber Facility
illustrates what can happen when museum administrators permit a
collection to grow and develop without providing direction and
funding for its preservation .  .  .  .  [P]reservation is a primary
museum responsibility, moreso than education, research, or
exhibition, given that those functions are, or should be,
collection-dependent.  Therefore, preservation is not an option or a
low priority, nor is it a one-time budget expense.  It is a
continuous process that requires adequate levels of staffing and
funding."

In the past 10 years, the Smithsonian spent $9.1 million to improve
the Garber facility, including roof repairs, asbestos removal, and
storm-water structures, or an average of $910,000 per year.\3 Also, a
new artifacts storage building to be shared with the Smithsonian's
National Museum of American History (NMAH) and a new chemical
building for NASM are being constructed at a cost of about $1.4
million.  While these repairs have helped improve conditions at the
Garber facility, much more repair work is needed. 

We interviewed officials from the Smithsonian's Office of Design and
Construction, which is responsible for maintaining and repairing
Smithsonian facilities and asked about the feasibility of obtaining
additional repair funds for the Garber facility.  The Design and
Construction officials indicated that during the last 5 years, the
Smithsonian spent over 8 percent of its total repair funds on NASM
facilities (including the Garber facility and the Mall museum), which
represent
7 percent of the square footage of all Smithsonian facilities, and
spent
5 percent of its total repair funds on the Garber facility alone,
which represent 3 percent of the square footage of all Smithsonian
facilities.  The officials also said that over the next 5 years, the
Mall museum needs at least $33.8 million in repairs and that the
Garber facility needs at least $7.4 million in repairs.  However, the
officials said that it is unlikely that NASM will receive the needed
repair funds because NASM must compete with other Smithsonian museums
for scarce repair funds. 

The Design and Construction officials said that the Smithsonian has a
backlog of $250 million in deferred maintenance for all of its
museums, can only afford to make about $25 million in repairs each
year, and accrues another $32 million to $35 million in additional
repair work each year.  Because new requirements exceed available
funding each year, the backlog of deferred work will continue to
grow.  The Office of Design and Construction officials also said that
recent improvements that have been made to the Garber facility are
not expected to last long.  They added that some of the Garber
buildings have structural problems and may not be repairable. 

NASM must compete with other Smithsonian museums for its overall
funding, including collections management, as well as repair funds. 
In 4 of the past 5 years, NASM's requests for increased funding for
collections management have been turned down either by the
Smithsonian or OMB.\4 In fiscal year 1994, for example, NASM
requested an additional $395, 000 and 3 additional positions for
collections management.  The Smithsonian reduced that request to
$150,000 and 1 additional position, which OMB rejected.  For fiscal
year 1996, NASM requested an additional $576,000 and 9 additional
positions for collections management.  The Smithsonian reduced the
fiscal year 1996 request to $411,000 and 1 additional position, which
OMB rejected. 

In making its 1996 request for additional collections management
funding, the Smithsonian indicated that

     "NASM has the unique mission to preserve the technology
     represented by the history of aviation and spaceflight, by
     preserving the vehicles in which early pioneers broke speed
     records, explored new worlds, fought aerial battles, and sought
     data about our universe.  Judging by the millions of visitors
     who visit the Museum and by the many letters from the public
     urging us to step up our efforts to preserve this evidence of
     flight, there is a broad base of public support for artifact
     restoration.  Sadly, without additional resources, some of our
     treasures may be lost."

Museum officials said that they must rely on federal funds for
maintaining their facilities because of the difficulty of raising
private funds for storage facilities with no public access.  Another
official said that donors want their contributions to be visible, for
example, with exhibits, where the contributors' names can be
prominently displayed. 

While we do not take any position on how NASM should allocate its
resources, the Assistant Director for Collections Management
suggested reassigning some curatorial staff to collections management
temporarily to address critical collections care problems.  She also
said that the Smithsonian should increase its focus on the care of
the collection and place less emphasis on research until major
collections problems are under control.  NASM's curators are required
to conduct scholarly research in their fields of interest, as well as
assume other responsibilities involving exhibits, managing the
collection, and public service. 

We visited AMARC in Tucson, AZ, where NASM currently stores one
aircraft.\5 An AMARC official said that NASM does not pay to maintain
its aircraft, as the other AMARC customers do.  The official said
that maintenance normally involves putting a new protective coating
on the aircraft and new oil in the engines every 6 months, which
involves about 4 hours of work and generally costs a few hundred
dollars per plane.  The official also said that no one from NASM had
visited AMARC to inspect its aircraft for 2 or 3 years.  The official
added that, even though NASM does not pay to have its aircraft
maintained, AMARC took care of two of NASM's aircraft at no cost to
NASM because they were on display. 

NASM has attempted to preserve some of its aircraft that are stored
outside at Dulles Airport and Andrews Air Force Base.  Two of NASM's
aircraft that are stored outside at Dulles Airport --a Lockheed 1049
Constellation and a Lockheed C-130A Hercules-- and another that is
stored outside at Andrews Air Force Base--a Grumman A-6E
Intruder--are connected to dehumidifiers.  The airplane at Andrews
Air Force Base is housed in a container. 

The Collections Management Advisory Committee reported in 1991 that,
while the facilities improvements that have been made at the Garber
facility were substantial, they were short-term fixes.  Stating that
a new extension must be built to provide adequate indoor storage
space, the committee said in its 1991 report that the longer the
delay, the higher the cost in deteriorating artifacts and interim
expenses.  The committee added that some of the deterioration is
irreversible. 

According to Smithsonian policy, museums normally establish minimum
standards of physical care and regular schedules for the maintenance
of collections.  NASM Collections Management staff said that they do
not conduct formal, periodic inspections of aircraft in storage. 
Smithsonian officials said that curators are aware of the condition
of aircraft when they are acquired and are responsible for reviewing
the condition of those in storage.  Smithsonian officials said that
some curators spend an average of 30 percent of their time on
collections management and that one curator spent 3 years working on
an engine maintenance program.  However, some curators told us that
they generally do not inspect the collection unless they have a
reason to do so, such as preparing an exhibit involving the
artifacts.  NASM has adopted a new policy that 0.5 percent of the
collection be randomly inspected by 1996 and then the same amount be
inspected on a biannual basis.  The proposed policy was submitted to
the Smithsonian for approval in July 1994, but was not approved until
May 1995.  NASM's Assistant Director for Collections Management said
the Smithsonian does not give collections management a high priority. 

We asked NASM officials about who is responsible for seeing that the
collection is properly cared for--the curators or the collections
management staff.  The Chairman of the Aeronautics Department said
that the curators and collections management personnel have joint
responsibility.  However, the former senior curator said that it is
unclear who is responsible for the collection.  The collections
management staff said that the Collections Management Department is
responsible for the physical care of the collection.  The former NASM
Director said that the curators are supposed to know the condition of
the artifacts in their collections and, if they notice a problem, are
to bring it to the attention of the collections management staff, who
then prepare a correction plan with the assistance of the curators. 

We interviewed officials from the Smithsonian's NMAH, who told us
that NMAH faces the same, if not worse, storage problems as NASM. 
NMAH officials said that in the early 1980s, the museum was forced to
decide that it could no longer collect large objects because of the
lack of storage space.  The officials said that of the seven storage
buildings NMAH has at the Garber facility, all have leaky roofs,
three have asbestos, and one is quarantined because of asbestos
contamination. 

In a 1991 article for a Smithsonian publication, NASM's conservator
said that collections storage is often the most neglected function
within a museum.  He said that exhibition is generally considered a
higher priority and receives a greater share of the funding, and that
storage is considered by many to be a static function requiring only
space.  The conservator also noted that one of the major threats to
important collections is poor storage and that as a result of poor
storage (1) objects could be misplaced, (2) important information
could be lost, (3) irreversible damage could develop and progress go
undetected, and (4) theft and damage could go unnoticed for years.\6
NASM's conservator told us that NASM's aircraft need more
preservation and less restoration.  He said that restoring aircraft
is not needed to preserve them. 

The former NASM Director said that he would like to move the entire
collection at the Garber facility to the museum's planned new
extension facility, which is discussed in detail in chapter 4. 
However, the Research and Collections Management Advisory Committee
has recommended that improvements be made to the Garber facility,
despite the extension plans.  In its 1990 report, for example, the
committee noted needed improvements in the chemical treatment
facility and welding shop, and overcrowding at the Garber facility. 
In the minutes of its 1989 meeting, the committee indicated that NASM
should not rely on the prospect of the future extension, which may be
years away, to substitute for today's crucial conservation and
storage needs. 


--------------------
\1 National Park Service, Museum Handbook, Part I, Museum
Collections, 1990. 

\2 To minimize deterioration, DOD stores aircraft in Tucson, AZ,
because of its low humidity and rainfall.  Aircraft windows and
openings are covered to prevent ultraviolet ray damage to interiors
of aircraft stored there. 

\3 The Smithsonian estimates that 35 percent of these improvements
were made for NASM's share of the Garber facility, which is also used
by other Smithsonian museums. 

\4 For fiscal year 1995, the Smithsonian instructed NASM not to
request additional funding due to budget constraints. 

\5 When we visited AMARC in March 1995, NASM had six aircraft stored
there.  NASM also has a Boeing 707 fuselage and a Convair C-131E at
AMARC, which have not been entered as part of the collection, but
were acquired for parts. 

\6 A March 10, 1995, Washington Times article indicated that a NASM
curator was suspended in connection with allegations of stealing and
reselling of aviation artifacts.  An official from the Smithsonian's
Office of Inspector General told us that policy prohibited him from
confirming or denying the existence of an ongoing investigation.  On
July 1, 1995, The Washington Post reported that the curator had
pleaded guilty to stealing museum artifacts. 


   CONSIDERATION OF OTHER
   ALTERNATIVES COULD LESSEN
   NASM'S RESTORATION AND
   PRESERVATION BURDEN
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2

Because NASM lacks a clear focus regarding its mission, its
collection includes some aircraft whose historical significance has
been questioned, some duplicate aircraft, and a number of foreign
aircraft.  It is not clear whether this fulfills Congress' original
intent to establish a national museum that showcases this country's
most important aviation achievements.  Reducing the size of the
collection and undertaking second-party aircraft restorations with
temporary display loans are viable alternatives to lessen NASM's
burden of caring for a large aircraft collection.  However, NASM has
not developed a strategy to deaccession aircraft.  It also has not
accelerated pursuing second-party restorations with temporary loans,
despite repeated recommendations to do so by its advisory committee. 


      DEACCESSIONS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2.1

Congress intended that NASM collect, preserve, and display
aeronautical and space flight equipment of historical interest and
significance.  While we have no basis for determining which aircraft
should be included in NASM's collection, some other individuals
familiar with NASM's aircraft collection that we contacted questioned
whether NASM should have collected certain aircraft.  The Director of
the Air Force Museum, for example, questioned the wisdom of NASM
having acquired a large collection of World War II Japanese
aircraft.\7 NASM's Senior Advisor to the Director questioned whether
the museum should have acquired a Boeing 727--a commercial aircraft
still widely used.  Further, a NASM curator, who is a former Air
Force pilot, questioned whether the museum needs two McDonnell F-4s. 
Moreover, the Air Force Historian, who is a former NASM curator, said
that NASM's collection is disorganized and is too large to care for. 

NASM's Research and Collections Management Advisory Committee has
repeatedly recommended that the museum accelerate deaccessioning of
aircraft.  For example, in 1991, the committee reported that NASM

     "must get serious about deaccessioning, and expand where
     feasible its loan program.  We recognize the reluctance on the
     part of the staff to part with important artifacts and the fear
     that other institutions, as well as the process of physical
     transfer, might produce some damage.  But the collection is
     simply too large--for what this Museum needs in terms of a
     national collection, in terms of balance, and most compelling,
     in terms of the Museum's ability to prevent artifacts from
     deteriorating.  And the Museum cannot accomplish its mission of
     preservation and the diffusion of knowledge if so much of its
     collection is hidden from public view in storage facilities that
     do not meet minimum museum standards."

In its most recent report, the committee again recommended that NASM
accelerate deaccessioning and loans of aircraft and even suggested
that the museum consider seeking authority from Congress to sell part
of its collection. 

We asked the former NASM Director what the museum has done to respond
to the committee's recommendation regarding reducing the size of the
collection.  He said that it is not easy to find other museums to
take NASM aircraft.  Also, NASM's Senior Advisor to the Director said
that there is a reluctance to deaccession aircraft, because some NASM
staff believe everything in the collection is valuable.  From 1991 to
1995, NASM deaccessioned 11 aircraft.  Another six aircraft have been
identified for deaccession, but NASM cannot find responsible museums
willing to accept them, according to NASM officials. 

The Assistant Director for Collections Management said that, while
NASM may not have too many aircraft to reflect the history of
aviation, the museum does have more planes than it can care for.  She
also said that there should be more coordination between NASM and
other national museums that operate on federal funds, such as the Air
Force and Navy museums, to avoid duplication.  The Air Force
Historian agreed that NASM should not duplicate the collections of
the Air Force and the Navy. 

The Chairman of the Research and Collections Management Advisory
Committee told us that there has been disagreement among museum staff
about whether NASM should deaccession aircraft.  The Advisory
Committee Chairman also said that, since the former NASM Director was
not a historian, he had to rely on the advice of expert curators
regarding deaccessions, but that the experts could not agree on what
aircraft, if any, to dispose of.  The chairman said that NASM has the
greatest aircraft collection in the world, but that it needs to be
pruned.  Moreover, the chairman said that because the museum had such
a large and varied constituency, including the public, military,
airplane buffs, and film makers, deaccessioning aircraft would be
difficult. 


--------------------
\7 In commenting on a draft of this report, Smithsonian officials
said that most of the foreign aircraft in the collection were
provided by the U.S.  military services. 


      SECOND-PARTY
      RESTORATIONS/LOANS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2.2

Another alternative that could lessen NASM's burden of caring for its
aircraft collection would be loaning its aircraft to other
organizations for display over a temporary period, such as 10 years,
in exchange for having them restored.  NASM officials told us that
they are using second-party restorations and in fact developed the
legal and contracting procedures to undertake such work, and would
welcome similar proposals from other institutions.  While NASM is
using this option, it has no detailed strategy to determine whether
there are additional opportunities to use it. 

NASM reported that it loaned 18 aircraft to other museums for
restoration and storage during 1993 and 1994.  Of these 18 aircraft,
NASM initiated the loan of 8 aircraft--6 for restoration and 2 for
storage.  The other party initiated the loans for the other 10
aircraft.  For example, the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, AZ,
contacted NASM about restoring a Kawanishi N1K2-J, nicknamed the
"George," for NASM in exchange for being able to display it for 10
years.  Table 3.1 shows the six aircraft restoration loans that were
initiated by NASM in the last 2 years. 



                               Table 3.1
                
                 New Restoration Loans Initiated During
                             1993 and 1994

Type of aircraft                    Museum/Organization
----------------------------------  ----------------------------------
Boeing 307                          Boeing Company

MiG 21                              U.S. Air Force

Horton II                           Museum fur Verkehr und Technik,
                                    Berlin, Germany

Horton IIIf                         Museum fur Verkehr und Technik,
                                    Berlin, Germany

Horton IIIh                         Museum fur Verkehr und Technik,
                                    Berlin, Germany

Horton VI                           Museum fur Verkehr und Technik,
                                    Berlin, Germany
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Source:  NASM. 

The Assistant Director for Collections Management told us that NASM
does not have an active program to identify outside restorers.  The
former NASM Director agreed and said that NASM must be careful about
who it allows to restore its aircraft, since many museums do not meet
NASM's restoration standards.  To help overcome this concern, NASM
provides standards that second- party restorers must follow.  These
standards, along with careful screening of the capabilities of second
parties, coupled with periodic monitoring of work in progress during
restoration, can help ensure that adequate standards are followed. 
In addition, NASM officials said that the loan program requires
considerable staff time for crating, shipping, and other related
tasks that reduces staff time available for in-house restoration
efforts. 

The Collections Management Advisory Committee has also recommended
that the museum expand its loan for restoration program.  In its 1990
report, the committee reported that there was some resistance by NASM
staff about the program because of concern that the quality control
of restoration would be lost.  However, the committee noted that,
given the positive experience involving the San Diego Aerospace
Museum's restoration of one of the four "Enola Gay" engines, the
program should be expanded.\8 We also noted that NASM was satisfied
with the Champlin Museum's restoration of the Japanese World War II
fighter, the "George."

The Director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum told us that his
museum would be interested in restoring entire aircraft for NASM in
the future.  We did not survey other museums about their possible
interest in restoring aircraft for NASM, but it is possible that
there may be others who might be capable and interested. 

Another approach undertaken by the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH,
and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL, involves providing
other museums with two aircraft for restoration, allowing them to
keep one and restore and return the second.  Likewise, NASM has
provided three aircraft to a German museum, which, after restoring
the aircraft, plans to give one to the Air Force Museum, return one
to NASM, and keep the third one. 


--------------------
\8 Following the 1990 Advisory Committee report, the San Diego
Aerospace Museum restored a second engine from the "Enola Gay."


FUTURE PLANS FOR THE DULLES
EXTENSION AND ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT
ARE UNCERTAIN
============================================================ Chapter 4

NASM officials cited plans to build an extension at Dulles Airport,
VA.  as the solution to the museum's storage and restoration
problems.  However, it is uncertain when or whether the extension
will be built, given the museum's need to raise at least $100 million
in private funds for its construction.  Also, NASM would like to
acquire 80 aircraft over the next 30 years, which would exacerbate
its current storage problems. 


   NASM EXTENSION PLANS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:1

In the early 1980s, the Smithsonian began looking for a site on which
to build an extension for NASM to store its aircraft collection
currently housed at the Garber facility and large aircraft to be
acquired in the future.  By the mid-1980s, the extension was planned
also to house the restoration facilities at Garber and to display
aircraft on a limited basis.  By 1989, NASM wanted the extension to
include a theater, a restaurant, and a museum shop, as well as
expansion space for other Smithsonian bureaus. 

A key consideration in selecting a site was access to an active
runway to accept large aircraft that could not be transported to the
museum on the Mall.  As early as 1983, after considering several
sites, the Smithsonian chose Dulles Airport as its preferred site. 
In 1988, the site selection process was reopened after the Governor
of Maryland expressed an interest in locating the facility at the
Baltimore-Washington International Airport.  Then, in 1990, the City
of Denver submitted an unsolicited proposal to locate the extension
at Stapleton International Airport. 

In February 1991, we testified that the Smithsonian's site selection
process had not adequately considered and justified its selection of
Dulles Airport as the extension site.\1 The Smithsonian subsequently
provided information and analysis needed to support its selection of
Dulles Airport as the extension site and its decision to reduce the
estimated cost of the extension from $325 million to $162 million. 
In March 1991, we informed the Chairman of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies that, in light of the
Smithsonian's additional analysis, its decision to locate the
extension at Dulles Airport could be objectively defended by the
Smithsonian. 

NASM is currently planning to build a 670,000 square-foot extension
facility at Dulles Airport at a cost of $162 million.  NASM plans to
finance the extension through private fundraising and funds pledged
by Virginia.  According to NASM officials, Virginia has agreed to
provide the Smithsonian with a $3 million interest-free loan and has
pledged to finance site-work improvement for highway access, airplane
taxiways, and parking, plus $6 million in construction costs.  In
addition, the Governor of Virginia has indicated that the state is
committed to issuing up to $100 million in bonds to assist in capital
construction.  Under the proposal, the Smithsonian will make lease
payments to Virginia equal to the debt service, and once the debt is
retired, title to the facility will pass to the Smithsonian.  The
Smithsonian will be responsible for all of the extension's operating
costs. 

In August 1993, legislation was approved authorizing the extension
and the appropriation of $8 million in federal funds for its planning
and design.  However, in July 1995, the President signed a bill to
rescind $4,175,000 in planning funds that had been appropriated for
the extension.  In September 1995, a congressional conference
committee adopted a report regarding a fiscal year 1996
appropriations bill authorizing the appropriation of $1 million for
planning and design of the Dulles extension.  As of September 26,
1995, Congress had not yet approved the conference report.  NASM
officials estimated that the extension could open sometime during
2000 to 2005, but added that rescinding the planning funds could
postpone the extension opening. 

The former NASM Director told us that to raise $100 million in
private funds, NASM may need to enter into joint ventures with
companies, allowing them, for example, to hold permanent aerospace
trade fairs at the extension.  The former director also said that the
extension may incorporate entertainment rides and simulators, and
that corporations may be permitted to use their logos in exchange for
financial support.  NASM has begun formulating a financing plan for
the extension. 

Some NASM officials said that it would have been difficult for the
museum to raise the extension funds under the former director because
of the controversy involving the exhibit of the "Enola Gay,"
discussed in chapter 2.  It still remains uncertain, however, if the
Smithsonian will be able to obtain the support needed to construct
the extension. 

In its 1994 report, the Research and Collections Management Advisory
Committee noted that NASM management lacked a consensus on the
expected benefits of the extension, which were never extensively
discussed or debated within the Smithsonian.  The committee
recommended that the museum formulate a mission statement for the
extension.  The former NASM Director told us that he was developing a
mission statement and that he would like the extension to allow the
museum to tell stories involving the (1) history of the Cold War, (2)
effects of the World War II bombing campaign, (3) impact of the
revolution in air travel for Americans, and (4) benefits to society
provided by downward-looking satellites. 

In March 1995, the Secretary of the Smithsonian contracted with the
National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to review the
management of NASM.  NAPA is to complete its study in the Fall of
1995, and is to pay particular attention to an examination of NASM's
mission.  As part of the study, NAPA said it would review whether
NASM is adequately considering the mission of the extension.  In
August 1995, Smithsonian officials said that the Board of Regents
would shortly review the scope of NASM's mission. 

Plans for the extension include 670,000 square feet of space,
compared to 286,500 square feet of space at NASM's current storage
and restoration facilities.  We asked museum officials about the
feasibility of immediate construction of a restoration shop and
storage facility at Dulles Airport, as part of the first phase of the
extension, to replace the current 286,500 square- feet of storage
space.  The Assistant Director for Collections Management said that
it would be best to start the extension project by building a
restoration shop with public access, then build display and storage
space, followed by construction of storage-only space.  She also said
that the extension must have amenities to attract donations and that
Virginia has indicated that it may not be interested in providing
funds if the facilities were not accessible to the public. 

The former senior curator said that the NASM Director should be given
a mandate to build the extension, such as was given to the former
NASM Director in opening the museum in 1976.  He noted that in that
situation, former astronaut Michael Collins was selected as the NASM
Director because he had the needed experience and visibility in
working with Congress. 


--------------------
\1 National Air and Space Museum Extension Site Selection Process,
GAO/T-GGD-91-5 (Feb.  5, 1991). 


   FUTURE ACQUISITIONS COULD
   EXACERBATE STORAGE PROBLEMS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:2

NASM would like to collect 80 aircraft of all types over the next 30
years, even though it cannot properly care for the collection it has
now.  Included among these 80 aircraft are such large aircraft as the
Boeing 747 and Boeing B-52.\2 The 80 aircraft, which were contained
in a collections rationale prepared by NASM in 1989, are listed in
appendix II. 

The 1989 collections rationale noted that past attempts by the museum
to prioritize the collection effort were unsuccessful.  The rationale
acknowledged that after over 80 years of collecting aeronautical
artifacts, NASM at that time barely had adequate exhibition and
storage space for the aircraft in its collection or for large
aircraft yet to be acquired. 

The 80 aircraft that NASM would like to acquire include 23 general
aviation aircraft; 11 commercial aircraft; 12 military aircraft; 11
light, ultralight, or homebuilt aircraft; 15 gliders; and 8 vertical
flight aircraft.  The collections rationale contains justifications
for each proposed acquisition.  For example, the acquisition of the
Boeing 747 was justified because it epitomized the new era of
wide-bodied airliners.  The rationale also listed some practical
criteria to be considered before acquiring additional aircraft:  (1)
the aircraft must be obtained, preserved, restored, and exhibited at
a reasonable cost; (2) it can be transported to the museum at a
reasonable cost; (3) it has research, scholarship, and/or educational
value; and (4) it meets the physical requirements for exhibition. 

In its 1990 report, the Advisory Committee noted that the museum's
aircraft collections rationale, which has not been updated since it
was last revised in 1989, had no clear goal or guidance.  The
committee said that to be useful, the rationale should include (1) a
statement of the scope of the collection, (2) an explanation of how
the scope of collecting relates to the charter of the museum, and (3)
an explanation of how professional standards are maintained
throughout the collections process.  Further, the committee indicated
that the rationale lacked safeguards to ensure that additions to the
collection are not made if they further jeopardize the museum's
ability to cope with the existing collection and if the new additions
cannot be cared for adequately.  Such a practical consideration as
this would seem critical to NASM in view of its traditional inability
to obtain funding to adequately care for its collection. 

NASM's 1991 Space History Department's rationale also included
practical criteria for assessing priorities in collecting future
space artifacts.  It represented these criteria in the following
questions to be applied, in addition to technical criteria, when
deciding whether to acquire space artifacts. 

  Is the same object preserved elsewhere in a safe or permanent
     museum, or does it rightly belong in another, more appropriate
     museum? 

  Can the object be preserved by the means at hand, or is its
     preservation beyond the capability of NASM? 

  Is the object too large to be collected and preserved, or might
     parts of the object adequately represent its history? 

By incorporating these criteria in the written aircraft collections
rationale, NASM could lessen the impact of exacerbating the museum's
ability to care for the existing collection and seeing that new
additions are adequately cared for. 

In commenting on a draft of this report, NASM officials said that
although the collections rationale suggests that 80 aircraft might be
added to the NASM collection by 2020, it should be understood that
the presence of an aircraft in the rationale does not constitute
permission to collect it.  Officials said that a curator desiring to
collect an aircraft must follow a set of carefully crafted procedures
that have been established over the past
6 years.  Under the procedures (1) the object must appear in the
rationale or replace a similar object listed in the rationale and (2)
the acquisition must be proposed and defended before the Aeronautics
Department Collections Committee, which consists of all of the
curators, and the NASM Collections Committee, which consists of both
curatorial and collections management staff. 

NASM officials also said that over the past 5 years, no aircraft has
been acquired without provision being made for its appropriate
storage and care.  NASM officials said that from 1989 to 1995, it
acquired only 12 aircraft, compared to the acquisition of 56 aircraft
from 1982 to 1988. 


--------------------
\2 NASM also has acquired a Concorde, which will be delivered to the
museum when the aircraft is removed from service. 


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
============================================================ Chapter 5


   CONCLUSIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:1

Although NASM is popular with the public and has preserved many of
our nation's historic air and space artifacts, the management of the
aircraft collection that is not generally seen by the public needs
improvement.  NASM commits relatively few resources to aircraft
restoration, compared to other museum activities and another
federally funded air museum.  But, even if NASM were to increase its
restoration efforts, the museum would have no place to properly
display or store the aircraft.  Therefore, it is important for NASM
to determine how to better preserve its collection in view of the
limited financial resources available for aircraft restoration and
storage, including determining what size collection can be adequately
supported. 

Since NASM was established, certain aspects of the museum's mission
as a national air and space museum have been vague.  For example, the
legislation does not specify whether the museum should duplicate
collections at other federally funded air and space museums or
whether a national museum should include foreign aircraft.  Once
NASM's mission is clarified, NASM would be better able to develop
criteria for what constitutes historically and technologically
significant aircraft and, in the context of such criteria, which
aircraft it should have in its collection to fulfill its mission,
considering available resources and the adequacy of storage
facilities. 

If it is determined that NASM's current collection is too large in
view of resources and facilities available, options to reduce the
collection size so that the remaining aircraft can be stored or
displayed in space with adequate environmental controls include
deaccessioning aircraft and obtaining second-party restorations with
temporary loans to other museums.  Using additional second-party
restorations would help preserve NASM's collection, alleviate its
storage capacity problems, and share its collection with the public. 

The planned extension at Dulles Airport should help alleviate NASM's
storage facility problems, but funding is uncertain and the extension
may take several years to complete.  One option that may be available
to reduce costs would be to limit the new space to the same size of
current storage facilities.  If feasible, this option should help
NASM expedite plans to replace its deteriorating storage facilities
with new storage and restoration space at Dulles Airport with proper
environmental controls.  Including lower cost, limited public access
and a few amenities would make the new space more useful. 

In addition to storing aircraft in substandard space, NASM does not
have a management plan for each aircraft that describes (1) whether
and how the aircraft will be used in future exhibits, (2) to what
extent and when it will be restored, and (3) who is responsible for
monitoring its condition. 

The lack of resources devoted to collections management has resulted
in the restoration staff feeling disenfranchised from the Mall museum
staff. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:2

We recommend that the Secretary of the Smithsonian, together with the
Acting NASM Director

  consult with the appropriate Committees of Congress to better
     define the mission of a national air and space museum, and
     within that definition, criteria for identifying historically
     and technologically significant aircraft.  As part of this
     effort, the Secretary and NASM Director should specifically
     consider the extent to which the museum should (1) include
     foreign aircraft in its collection and (2) duplicate aircraft
     contained in the collections of other federally funded museums;

  determine the relative priority of the aircraft contained in the
     NASM collection in the context of the definition of historically
     and technologically significant aircraft referred to in the
     above recommendation;

  determine the number and types of aircraft that should be retained,
     given the newly established criteria and actual and expected
     levels of funding and storage capacity; and

  deaccession those aircraft in the NASM collection that either do
     not meet the historically and technologically significant
     criteria or cannot be adequately stored and maintained with
     available resources.  In pursuing the latter, additional
     consideration should also be given to second-party restorations
     and temporary loans of aircraft. 

We further recommend that the new Director of NASM

  develop a management plan for those aircraft that are to remain in
     the NASM collection that includes (1) whether and how exhibits
     will be developed for purposes of displaying the collection, (2)
     the extent to which each aircraft will be restored and when such
     restoration will be done, and (3) which organization will be
     responsible for monitoring each aircraft;

  develop a plan to increase the interaction of the curators and
     collections management staff; and

  further explore private funding alternatives and the feasibility of
     options to better care for aircraft, such as constructing a
     smaller, environmentally controlled facility to house those
     aircraft that will remain in the collection and are currently in
     inadequate storage facilities, as an initial phase of the Dulles
     Airport extension. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:3

We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Secretary of
the Smithsonian or his designee.  The Under Secretary provided
comments dated August 17, 1995, which are in appendix III.  The
Smithsonian provided additional comments in an attachment to their
August 17, 1995, letter. 

These comments have been discussed with Smithsonian officials and
changes have been incorporated into this report where appropriate. 

The Under Secretary said that the Smithsonian recognizes a number of
critical issues raised in our report and is working to address them. 
She said the greatest challenges are the lack of adequate storage
space and inadequate resources to do all of the things that must be
done.  The Under Secretary disagreed with some of our findings and
indirectly indicated disagreement with some of our proposed solutions
to the collections care problems that we identified. 

Regarding our first recommendation, the Under Secretary indicated
that (1) the Board of Regents will shortly review the scope of NASM's
mission; (2) NASM has rationales that define criteria to assess an
object's value to the collection; (3) when NASM was created, it was
recognized that there might be some duplication between NASM and
other museums; and (4) the overwhelming emphasis of the NASM
collection is American.  Our work indicated that the scope of NASM's
mission was unclear.  The Air Force Historian, for example,
questioned the wisdom of NASM having acquired a large collection of
World War II Japanese aircraft.  We still believe that the
Smithsonian should consult with Congress to better define NASM's
mission and the criteria for identifying historically and
technologically significant aircraft.  We believe this consultation
is necessary primarily because of the inadequate resources NASM has
to take care of its current collection and the need to address that
problem in a systematic fashion. 

Our recommendations to determine the relative priority of all
aircraft in the collection in the context of the criteria for
historical and technological significance and determining the number
of aircraft that should be retained are parts of our proposed
systematic solution to NASM's storage problems.  However, the
Smithsonian did not address these recommendations in its comments. 
Also, while the Smithsonian's Board of Regents may help define NASM's
mission, the board is not in a position to decide whether federally
funded museums should duplicate military aircraft in their
collections.  Further, the budget climate has changed since NASM was
created, and Congress now may want to look for opportunities to
reduce or eliminate duplication.  Although NASM officials indicated
that the practical criteria for assessing priorities in collecting
future space artifacts applies to aircraft acquisitions, the written
rationale does not indicate that the criteria also apply to aircraft. 
Moreover, since most of NASM's operating costs probably will be paid
by federal funds, including the Dulles extension, we believe that
Congress should be further involved in determining the role of the
nation's air and space museum. 

With respect to our recommendation to deaccession aircraft that
cannot be adequately stored and maintained, the Under Secretary said
the Smithsonian tries hard to deaccession aircraft and would welcome
additional loans to other museums but cannot always find takers.  As
mentioned in this report, however, NASM has not developed a strategy
to find other museums that might be interested in restoration loans. 
We believe that such a strategy would better inform other museums
about restoration opportunities and could result in more restoration
loans of NASM aircraft. 

Regarding our recommendation to develop a management plan for each
aircraft in the collection, the Under Secretary indicated that
curatorial responsibility has been assigned for each aircraft and
that curators prioritize treatments as required to preserve aircraft. 
However, as discussed in this report, NASM does not prepare
long-range plans for exhibits and restorations.  We are not
suggesting that an exhibit plan be developed for each aircraft in the
collection.  However, we are suggesting that NASM make determinations
about the likelihood of whether aircraft will be exhibited at some
point and the extent of restoration that would be needed to put the
aircraft that are likely to be exhibited into exhibitable condition. 
Further, the lack of resources for collections management
demonstrates an even greater need for a management plan. 

In response to our recommendation that NASM increase the interaction
between the curators and collections management staff, the Under
Secretary said that they already collaborate and that such
collaboration has developed into a full and genuine partnership.  Our
interviews with several collections management staff (discussed in
ch.  2) disclosed viewpoints that were substantially different from
this.  We believe that the substantial differences in opinion between
the collections management staff and NASM management on this subject
indicates that more attention should be devoted to determining what
the condition is and how it should be resolved. 

Finally, the Under Secretary indicated that she disagreed with our
last recommendation, which dealt with exploring the feasibility of
constructing a smaller, initial storage facility at the Dulles
extension to replace inadequate storage space.  She said that display
and educational space would be constructed by 2003 and that storage
space would be built after this, as funds become available.  We
continue to believe that the need for storage space is more critical
than the need for additional display and educational space, but we
recognize the need to accommodate the differing views and desires of
the various parties that may contribute to funding the extension. 


GARBER FACILITY ASSESSMENT
=========================================================== Appendix I

From 1991 to 1994, NASM undertook a conservation assessment,
examining the condition of the museum's 13 storage buildings at
Garber and the condition of the artifacts contained in them.  Below
are excerpts from the assessments. 



                                    Table I.1
                     
                     Conservation Assessment of Buildings at
                               the Garber Facility

                                Heat, a/c, or
                                humidity
Building no.    Year built      control         Contents/Condition
--------------  --------------  --------------  --------------------------------
2               1952-1954       None            "Some of the objects stored in
                                                Building 2, such as the Gotha Go
                                                229, a World War II German twin-
                                                jet-engine flying wing, and two
                                                Horten III flying wing
                                                prototypes, are quite
                                                significant.\a These artifacts
                                                have suffered for years from
                                                outdoor storage and mishandling.
                                                Environmental conditions in
                                                Building 2 are very poor, and
                                                certain objects continue to
                                                deteriorate."

3               1952-1954       None            "Most of the objects in Building
                                                3 fall into the two broad
                                                categories of aircraft engines
                                                and armament . . . . Most are of
                                                great significance, representing
                                                prototype engines, surviving
                                                examples of production engines,
                                                and captured engines from World
                                                War II. The engines are
                                                generally in poor condition due
                                                to years of outdoor storage.\b
                                                Storage conditions within
                                                Building 3 are poor."

4               1952-1954       None            "Most of the artifacts stored in
                                                Building 4 are either aircraft
                                                or spacecraft hardware . . . .
                                                Building 4 contains many gaps
                                                and voids that permit dust and
                                                dirt to enter the building . . .
                                                . Dirt and dust contribute to
                                                the degradation of surface
                                                finishes and promote corrosion."

5               1952-1954       None            "There are many significant
                                                objects stored in Building 5 . .
                                                . . We found corrosion, mold,
                                                and insect activity . . . .
                                                Heavy dirt and dust accumulation
                                                has occurred on most interior
                                                structural members since the
                                                building was constructed."

6               1952-1954       None            "Building 6 contains aircraft
                                                engines, wing sections,
                                                missiles, and aircraft . . . .
                                                Major problems include
                                                corrosion, dirty surfaces, and
                                                peeling paint . . . . This
                                                building was damaged by a
                                                tornado on November 23, 1992."\b

7               1953            None            "Building 7 contains aircraft,
                                                weapons, propellers, and
                                                avionics . . . . In the
                                                summertime, temperatures
                                                routinely reach and exceed 38
                                                degrees C; relative humidity is
                                                also extremely high . . . . No
                                                class of material can be
                                                preserved effectively under
                                                these conditions. This
                                                environment promotes corrosion
                                                of metals, destruction of
                                                organic materials, and oxidation
                                                of synthetics such as rubber,
                                                cellulose nitrate, and polyvinyl
                                                chloride."

9               1952-1954       None            "Building 9 is used for storage
                                                and is not open to the public.
                                                It contains a great variety of
                                                aircraft and spacecraft
                                                hardware, including parts,
                                                tools, accessories, etc. . . . .
                                                The absence of environmental
                                                controls promotes deterioration
                                                of objects inside the building .
                                                . . . The interior space is
                                                dusty and dirty due to gaps
                                                along the walls and doorways."

11              1952-1954       None            "Building 11 is a storage
                                                building that is closed to the
                                                public and contains mostly
                                                aircraft engines. . . . The
                                                building is in generally poor
                                                condition. The concrete slab has
                                                several major cracks and is
                                                crumbling along the edges;
                                                portions of the steel structure
                                                are rusting. Gaps along the
                                                perimeter allow insects and
                                                rodents to enter the building. .
                                                . . Ongoing deterioration
                                                includes corrosion, paint loss,
                                                dimensional changes such as
                                                cracking and joint separation in
                                                wooden artifacts, and possible
                                                insect damage."\b

20              Late 1960s      Heat only       "Building 20 is an exhibit
                                                building which contains
                                                aircraft, restored and
                                                unrestored, and other artifacts.
                                                . . . [C]onditions under which
                                                these objects are exhibited do
                                                not facilitate their
                                                preservation, and in fact
                                                contribute to their degradation-
                                                -even in the case of restored
                                                aircraft, which are no less
                                                susceptible to harsh
                                                environments than are other
                                                artifacts. . . . The roof has
                                                minor leaks, and condensation
                                                drips inside during the winter.
                                                . . . A number of artifacts
                                                located near the windows have
                                                been damaged by light. . . . The
                                                restoration process alone cannot
                                                be considered a solution because
                                                many restored objects in
                                                Building 20 are deteriorating .
                                                . . . Almost all recently
                                                restored aircraft in Building 20
                                                have evidence of corrosion . . .
                                                .[The Focke-Wulf FW 190 F-8]
                                                demonstrates the restoration
                                                myth that once restored, an
                                                aircraft is good for another 150
                                                years. When restored, the
                                                machine was stripped of all
                                                original paint and then
                                                repainted. Now, rust is
                                                beginning to appear on steel
                                                elements."

21              Mid-to-late-    Heat only       "Building 21 is used for
                1960s                           storage, shipping and receiving.
                                                . . . Almost every artifact (new
                                                accession, outgoing loan, or
                                                incoming loan) is processed
                                                through Building 21. . . .
                                                Conditions in Building 21 fall
                                                short of recognized museum
                                                standards for collections
                                                storage and shipping and
                                                receiving."

22              Not provided    Heat only       "Building 22 is a display/
                                                storage building that has been
                                                closed to the public and is now
                                                used solely for collections
                                                storage. . . . The Caroline,
                                                President John F. Kennedy's
                                                campaign plane, was among the
                                                first of the aircraft to be
                                                moved into the building. . . .
                                                This object demonstrates how
                                                quickly an aircraft can
                                                deteriorate when not cared for
                                                properly. . . . Despite a
                                                requirement for indoor storage,
                                                the fuselage and wing sections
                                                were stored outdoors for many
                                                years. In 1989, a family of
                                                feral cats took up residence in
                                                the fuselage, and, in addition
                                                to numerous cat droppings,
                                                shredded the upholstery and the
                                                rugs. . . . Relative humidity
                                                and temperature were responsible
                                                for mold, growth, corrosion, and
                                                peeling paint."

23              Early 1970s     Heat only       "Building 23 is a display/
                                                storage building. . . .
                                                Significant aircraft in Building
                                                23 include a Douglas VB-26B
                                                Invader, the nose section of a
                                                Mitsubishi Betty Bomber, a
                                                Grumman Avenger, a Bachem Ba349
                                                Natter, a Sikorsky S-43 (JRS-1)
                                                flying boat, and a cut-away
                                                Felixstone F-5L fuselage. . . .
                                                The roof leaks, and condensation
                                                forms on exposed steel rafters.
                                                Rust is visible on structural
                                                elements . . . . Of the nine
                                                storage building assessed to
                                                date at the Garber Facility,
                                                Building 23 has fewer problems
                                                than the rest. Unfortunately,
                                                its environment is still not
                                                conducive to long-term artifact
                                                preservation."

24              1975            Heat only       "Building 24 is an exhibit and
                                                storage building that contains a
                                                wide variety of artifacts and
                                                environments. Among its exhibits
                                                are restored and unrestored
                                                aircraft, paper kites, space
                                                artifacts, and a number of other
                                                relatively small artifacts. . .
                                                . The roof leaks, and
                                                condensation forms on metal
                                                building components. . . . There
                                                is no humidity control in the
                                                exhibit area; frequent
                                                fluctuations between extreme
                                                high and low relative humidity
                                                values occur daily."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a The Horten aircraft have been sent to a museum in Berlin, Germany,
for restoration. 

\b NASM currently has a program underway to preserve the engines. 

Source:  NASM Conservation Reports 1991-1994. 


PROBABLE NASM AIRCRAFT
ACQUISITIONS
========================================================== Appendix II

In 1989, NASM prepared a collections rationale, which contains plans
to collect 80 additional aircraft of all types over the next 30
years.  The aircraft NASM plans to acquire are listed below. 


      COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 11)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.1

Polikarpov Po-2
Douglas DC-4
Bush aircraft:  De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver or DHC-3 Otter
Vickers Viscount
Embraer Bandeirante
De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter
Boeing 707
Boeing 727
Sud/Sud-Est/Aerospatiale SE 210 Caravelle
Tupolev Tu-104
Boeing 747


      MILITARY AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 12)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.2

Any World War I British aircraft (e.g., Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter)
Any World War I Italian aircraft (e.g., Ansaldo S.V.A.  9)
Any Interwar (1919-1939) British aircraft, e.g., De Havilland
 D.H.  82 Tiger Moth
Morane Saulnier 127
Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Douglas A-20 Havoc
Avro Lancaster
Gloster Meteor
Any German bomber (e.g., Junkers Ju 87)
Soviet aircraft:  Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird\1


Dassault Mirage III
Mikoyan-Burevich MiG-21 Fishbed
Grumman F-14 Tomcat


--------------------
\1 NASM acquired this aircraft after this list was prepared in 1989. 


      PRIVATE AIRCRAFT
      ACQUIRE 11)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.3

Alexander Eaglerock A-2, American Eagle A-1 or Brunner-Winkle
 Bird
Travel Air 4000, Laird Speedwing, Commercial or Stearman C3B
Fleet 2 or Great Lakes 2-T-1A
Buhl Bull Pup LA-1 or Cessna C-34 or Ryan Model SC-150/ST
Aeronca Champion 7AC, Cessna 120 or 140, Luscombe Silvaire Model
 8, Globe Swift, Stinson Voyager, or Taylorcraft BC-12D
 (acquire 3)
Cessna 172
Piper Arrow or Commanche or Mooney M-20/M-22/PFM


      BUSINESS AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 6)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.4

Piper Malibu
Beech Baron 55
Piper Aztec
Beech King Air
Rockwell Commander
Cessna Citation I


      UTILITY AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 6)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.5

Stinson SB-1
Bellanca Aircruiser
Piper Pawnee or Schweitzer Grumman AG Cat
Ayres Turbo Thrush S2R-T65/400
Champion Citabria or Decathalon
Christen Eagle
Mudry CAP 10B


      GLIDERS
      (ACQUIRE 15)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.6

Akaflieg Stuttgart FS-24 Phonix
ASW 12
ASW 22B
Bekas N
Caproni A-21S
D.F.S.  Olympia
D.F.S.  Wiehe
Eipper-Formance Quicksilver
Glaser-Dirks DG-400
Glasflugel H-301 Libelle
Hall Cherokee II
Hoffman H-36 Dimona MK II
Letnany L-13 Blatnik
Nimbus 3/24.5
Slingsby T.21B
Woodstock One


      LIGHT/ULTRALIGHT/HOMEBUILT
      AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 11)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.7

Aerocar Micro-Imp
Aerolites Ag-Bearcat
Circa Reproductions Sopwith Triplane
Freedom Master Air Shark I
Glasair III
Hamilton HX-321
Holcomb Perigee
Lancair 200/235
Ligeti Stratos
Monnett Moni
Paraplane
Pietenpol Air Camper
Polen Special
Questair Venture
SA-60 Silhouette I
Sadler A22
Seawind International Seawind 2000
SNS-9 EXP II Hiperlite
Starlite SL-1
Van's RV-3
Volmer Sportsman
Wheeler Express


      VERTICAL FLIGHT AIRCRAFT
      (ACQUIRE 8)
------------------------------------------------------ Appendix II:0.8

Bell AH-1G Cobra
Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey
Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook
Gyrodyne XRON
McDonnell Douglas AH-64A Apache
McDonnell Douglas Notar
Mil Mi-12
Mil Mi-24 Hind
Sikorsky H-3
Sikorsky HH-52
Farrington Air and Space-18A
Williams Research X-Jet

Source:  NASM 1989 Collections Rationale. 




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix III
COMMENTS FROM THE SMITHSONIAN
INSTITUTION
========================================================== Appendix II

See p.  41. 

See comment 1. 



(See figure in printed edition.)

See comment 2. 

See p.  43-44. 

See p.  42. 



(See figure in printed edition.)

See pp.  42-44. 

See p.  35. 

See p.  43. 


The following are GAO's comments on the Smithsonian Institution's
letter, dated August 17, 1995. 


   GAO COMMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:1

1.  The scope of our work, as discussed on pp.15-16, was limited to
aircraft restoration. 

2.  The fact that NASM's storage facilities are inadequate to
preserve the collection is discussed throughout chapter 3. 

3.  We did not reproduce the attachment.