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Smithsonian working to reopen shuttered Arts and Industries Building as special event space

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WASHINGTON — Smithsonian officials are quietly working to reopen one of the oldest buildings on the National Mall that's been shuttered for a decade.

Acting Smithsonian Secretary Al Horvath said Monday that modest interior work is being completed now for the 134-year-old Arts and Industries Building to reopen in late 2015 to host special events.

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution, shows the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington. Smithsonian officials are quietly working to reopen one of the oldest buildings on the National Mall that’s been shuttered for a decade. Acting Smithsonian Secretary Al Horvath said Monday, April 13, 2015, that modest interior work is being completed now for the 134-year-old Arts and Industries Building to reopen in late 2015 to host special events. (Smithsonian Institution via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution, shows the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington. Smithsonian officials are quietly working to reopen one of the oldest buildings on the National Mall that’s been shuttered for a decade. Acting Smithsonian Secretary Al Horvath said Monday, April 13, 2015, that modest interior work is being completed now for the 134-year-old Arts and Industries Building to reopen in late 2015 to host special events. (Smithsonian Institution via AP)

The building is one of the original exhibition spaces in the nation's capital. It underwent a $55 million renovation to replace the roof and rehabilitate the structure but was left in limbo.

In 2013, the Smithsonian announced a partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reopen the structure as an innovation pavilion. Funding shortfalls forced the Smithsonian to cancel that project.

The building also was recommended as a site for a proposed Latino cultural museum.

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