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Smithsonian, national monuments set to reopen as shutdown ends

Smithsonian, national monuments set to reopen as shutdown ends
U.S. Park Police look out at dawn Thursday from the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, now reopened to the public, facing the Washington Monument. (Michael Reynolds / EPA)

The Smithsonian museums and national monuments will begin reopening Thursday as the federal government resumes operations after a late-night Wednesday congressional deal to end the 16-day shutdown.

On its website, the Smithsonian said all of its museums will be open on Thursday, with the National Zoo set to reopen Friday. National monuments -- including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument -- also are expected to begin welcoming back visitors on Thursday.

The timetable for other national monuments to resume normal public hours remains unclear. The National Park Service, which operates the monuments, still had not reactivated parts of its website early Thursday, although Yosemite National Park opened Wednesday night.

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Congress approved a bill late Wednesday to fund the government and extend the federal government's debt ceiling and thus avoid a financial default. President Obama signed the bill in the early hours of Thursday. The legislative stalemate stemmed from budgetary disagreements over Obama's Affordable Care Act.

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The shutdown disappointed numerous tourists in Washington, New York and elsewhere who were turned away from famous sites and museums.

Federal agencies were expected to begin resuming normal business hours on Thursday, though some may not be fully functioning for a couple of days.

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