Saturday, July 25, 2009

More Museum Closings, Layoffs, and Cutbacks

USA Today on the escalating death of museums.

Ford Bell, president of the American Association for Museums, says the losses in three of the largest funding sources for museums is a "triple whammy." "Museum attendance is very, very strong, but unfortunately, attendance doesn't provide a big chunk of the income," he says. But despite the large number of volunteers and two $45,000 gifts from anonymous donors, the museum still had to cut back: It's now open five days a week instead of six.


The University of Wyoming's Geological Museum in Laramie faced a similar problem when the state cut funding to the university by 10%.


Though smaller institutions are being hit the hardest, even larger museums such as the Field Museum in Chicago are tightening belts. Nancy O'Shea, the museum's public relations director, says a declining endowment value led officials to trim staff and cut pay for all employees making more than $75,000.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is also cutting back. Its director, Thomas Campbell, says the museum cut 14% of its staff to cope with losses in its endowment and decreases in membership and corporate sponsors. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is also reducing staff and postponing or lengthening exhibitions after a 27% decline in its endowment.

And finally...

[I]n Detroit, Graham W.J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Art, says the museum had to cut $3 million in operating costs and another $3 million by reducing staff because of a loss of state support.

Continue those anti-deaccessioning petitions!

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