It was only a matter of time before the Institute realized that they can't collect everything. According to The Washington Post, the Smithsonian is quickly running out of space to house its roughly 137 million items. Granted, the Smithsonian is a complex comprised of 19 museums, but 137 million is massive any way you slice it. Due to damaged facilities and shotty archiving, many artifacts have been "misplaced" and others are at jeopardy of being lost forever.

As the Smithsonian Institute continues to acquire artifacts, keeping track of them becomes harder and harder. At this point, digitizing the entire collection would take over 500 years, according to an estimate by Smithsonian secretary G. Wayne Clough. 

What's the game plan? This week the Committee on House Administration held a hearing to discuss the challenges. Obviously, there is no quick fix solution that will repair the current storage facilities, better catalog the items, and create more space for the future, but Congress was reassured that there was no cause for panic and that "the treasures are safe."

[via ArtInfo/WashingtonPost]

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