- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is planning a major building renovation but plans to keep sections of the museum open during construction.

The museum announced this week that work will begin in 2017 and will be completed in phases over five years.

The project will replace aging mechanical systems and stone panels on the museum’s facade. An engineering study found the exterior panels were too thin to withstand significant weathering after 38 years of use. The panels have warped and cracked. About 13,000 panels will be replaced.

The museum says fencing has been installed around the building where exterior panels are being monitored. Some have been replaced with temporary stone.

The Smithsonian will seek federal funds for the renovation. The full cost has not yet been determined.

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