The J. Paul Getty Trust announced yesterday that it was downsizing its museum division, eliminating 34 jobs for an expected annual savings of $4.3 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
President and CEO James Cuno has said the reorganization will focus the museum’s resources on its “core mission,” which includes building its collection, curatorial and conservation research and broad public access.
The bulk of the cuts affect the education department, which will lose 19 of 51 current employees. Twelve of 17 gallery teachers, previously responsible for leading tours, will be replaced by an expanded corps of volunteer docents, to be trained by those remaining.
Ten jobs have already been eliminated and the museum seeks 24 additional volunteers from the education, exhibitions, imaging services and visitor services departments to fill the quota, or management will determine the layoffs by May 7.
This initiative constitutes a nearly 9% reduction of the Getty’s museum staff, and a 2.6% trimming of employment overall, notes the Times. Changes will not affect the curatorial or conservation staff, and the museum’s exhibition and public programming schedule will be maintained. The board has promised no reduction in the number of school visits to the Getty, including visits by Title I schools, and predicts the overall number of tours will increase.
The Getty’s budget is dictated by the returns on its endowment, which, though still substantial at $5.6 billion, is down $1 billion from its pre-recession peak in 2007. Cuno has said he believes the board’s decision leaves the foundation “better positioned to deal with continued economic uncertainty.”