Anyone who has plans to visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in D.C. (the world’s second most visited museum) to view the museum’s dinosaur hall will be out of luck beginning April 28. At that time, the hall will close for – wait for it – five years for a $48 million “makeover” (see here).
Five years to remodel 31,000 square feet? Are we still on Earth or have we disappeared into some alternate universe? The Empire State building only took 15 months to build after excavation started in 1930. But don’t worry, according to museum director, Kirk Johnson, the five years are “going to fly by.” And rest assured, the good director himself will be traumatized by the closure.
The Fossil Hall renovation may replace Healthcare.gov rollout as the poster child for incompetent government. The Washington Post makes a point, however, of listing other recent closures in D.C.: the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (2 years), National Museum of American History (2 years), National Portrait Gallery (6 years), and the Washington Monument (almost 3 years). Seems like the Post is implying that past incompetence justifies future incompetence.
But it’s not just websites, remodeling, and reconstruction. Governments today can’t even do simple road construction within any reasonable time period. One very small bridge replacement project near where I live has taken almost three years so far for what should have taken no more than six months.
So just what is going on with government projects? Is this pure incompetence or do the officials behind the projects have some theory in mind when planning the time line? Of course, the officials in charge are liberals, so we probably shouldn’t count on or believe any explanations. But all things considered, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that these people are out of their minds.