DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley employees forced to stay home during a government shutdown returned to work Tuesday. At the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, visitors and staff said they were grateful the museum was reopened following a three day closure.
Joe Mundie and Priscilla Bright were in Dayton Tuesday on the last leg of a weeks-long road trip. Mundie, a retired U.S. airman, said the Air Force Museum would be the couple’s last excursion before returning home to Maryland.
They were among the first visitors when the museum reopened at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. While visiting Springfield, Illinois Monday the government shutdown caused them to miss out on another site.
“We went to the Abraham Lincoln Museum,” Mundie said. “The museum was open, but the library and the house were closed.”
“That was disappointing,” Bright added.
Tuesday, they said they were relieved lawmakers passed a spending bill to reopen the government and federally run facilities.
“When I got up this morning I thought, ‘Gee whiz, if they didn’t do it, we would be here today.’ So I was very pleased that it was back on,” Mundie said.
Retired Navy pilot Roger Van Dyke said his family decided last minute to stop at the museum during a trip from Oklahoma to Connecticut.
“I’ve always wanted to come to the museum, we just for some reason were never able to do it,” Van Dyke said.
The government shutdown didn’t cross the history and aviation buff’s mind when he decided to visit.
“It just happened to be perfect timing, really,” said Van Dyke.
Tourists weren’t the only ones glad to visit the museum Tuesday.
The shutdown furloughed 96 civilian employees for the three days the museum was closed. It’s unclear whether the government plans to reimburse the workers for their lost hours.
The museum had to cancel a family day event planned for Saturday and says the three unopened days meant its foundation lost revenue normally coming from concessions, theater tickets and souvenirs.
Air Force Museum chief of public affairs Diana Bachert said, “Our hope would be that these types of situations would not happen, but again, as a government facility, we’re bound by directive to close in a situation of a government shutdown.”
The museum is currently operating on its normal hours.