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Inside the Smithsonian's plan to reach 1 billion people by 2022

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian has set a new goal of reaching 1 billion people, both in the U.S. and abroad, by 2022. The core of the plan, according to Secretary of the Smithsonian David Skorton, is to bring the museum's collections to those who physically can't visit by digitizing more than 15 million items and making them available online.

Why it matters: Skorton told Axios that their efforts are not only about expanding reach, but also about "convening conversations on topics where the country is struggling and where we have some expertise."

"When you look at polls that indicate what types of institutions Americans still trust [he notes that the media and the government have fallen in this respect], Museums and libraries tend to be more trusted, and maintain that trust. People think of cultural institutions as honest brokers of information."

By the numbers: About 30 million people visited the Smithsonian's 19 museums, located in Washington, D.C. and New York, last year. They also have 215 affiliate museums, a record label, 3 magazines and a Smithsonian hannel. Taken together, the Smithsonian told Axios that they reach upwards of 100 million people a year. They now want to grow that number tenfold.

What's next: Digitizing their collections "is only the first step," said Skorton, who said a big part of that will be augmented reality, though they're still figuring that part out. The next step is to get the word out, which will largely be done through social media. "'You need to know we have them, you need to come to us and you need to know how to do it."

The Smithsonian's augmented reality app. Courtesy of the Smithsonian.
Abraham Lincoln digitized. Courtesy of the Smithsonian.
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Where Trump's steel and aluminum trade war will hit first

Note: Includes only products under the "Iron & Steel & Ferroalloy" and "Alumina & Aluminum & Processing" NAICS commodity classifications. Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Chris Canipe and Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The Trump administration has begun imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, but several countries are exempted temporarily until May 1, as shown in the chart above. The administration may still apply quotas on exempted countries to prevent a flood of foreign steel and aluminum in the U.S. market, per the White House.

Why it matters: After railroading past a number of his advisors, Trump announced the tariffs on imports of steel (at 25%) and aluminum (at 10%) earlier this month, citing national security concerns. But with the exemption noted above, the tariffs won't carry major bite, at least to start.

Alexi McCammond 5 hours ago
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Trump signs spending bill despite veto threat

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump announced that he has signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill that passed Congress last night "as a matter of national security," citing the bill's increase in defense spending, even though he threatened to veto earlier today. "My highest duty is to keep America safe," Trump said. He said he's disappointed in most of the bill.

Key quote: "I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It's only hours old."