Most major U.S. museums have said they will remain closed indefinitely because of the coronavirus. With operations grinding to a halt, institutions are beginning to announce layoffs and alterations to workers’ pay schedules. Below is a guide surveying those announcements.
Last update: 4/27/20, 2:45 p.m.
— The Broad: The Los Angeles–based private museum said it will pay staff members who can’t work remotely until at least April 8. In late April, the museum laid off 129 part-time employees as well as one full-time staffer.
— Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Officials at one of L.A.’s biggest institutions plan to keep paying all hourly and part-time employees for the whole time the museum is closed.
— Hammer Museum: On March 24, 150 part-time student workers were laid off at the Hammer. The museum said the laid-off workers would receive pay through April 10. (The Hammer is affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles, which will not hold classes on its campuses through at least early June.)
— Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles: Also on March 24, MOCA laid off its entire part-time staff. With its part-time employees representing 97 people out of its 185-person staff, that means the museum cut its workforce in half. MOCA has said it is hoping to bring its part-time workers back after the closure ends. Laid-off employees are to be paid through the end of March. At the beginning of April, 69 more workers were placed on full or partial furlough, or were given “significant salary reductions.”
— San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Working under the expectation that it will have to be closed through the end of June, the museum plans to lay off 135 on-call staff members on April 8. (These workers have been paid since the museum closed in mid-March.) And, starting on May 1, nearly 200 staff members will have their schedules reduced or will be furloughed. SFMOMA will continue to cover these employees’ health care benefits through June 30.
— Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: The San Francisco museum has made a public commitment to pay its employees for as long as possible.
— Pérez Art Museum Miami: Working under the expectation that it may not reopen until September, the museum has laid off 15 full-time employees, furloughed 54 part-timers, and instituted pay cuts for those still on staff.
— MASS MoCA: Based in North Adams, the museum said it would lay off 120 of its 165 employees. All employees will receive full payment through March 27. After that, until April 10, all workers will receive 70 percent of their normal pay. Laid-off employees will be covered by the museum’s health care plan through July 31.
— Metropolitan Museum of Art: Widely regarded as the role model for institutions across the nation, the Met has committed to paying all of its employees through April 4. At the end of March, the Met extended that deadline for payments until May 2, saying in a statement, “It is the best we can do in a rapidly evolving situation.” In late April, the Met laid off 81 employees and instituted pay cuts for senior staff, including its director and president and CEO.
— MoMA PS1: The museum furloughed more than 70 percent of its workforce, leaving just 17 staff members working there full-time. Pay cuts were instituted for those receiving more than $70,000 per year.
— Museum of Modern Art: Some 85 freelancers in its education department have been laid off, with pay ending on March 30.
— New Museum: Roughly one-third of the museum’s workers were furloughed the day after the Whitney announced layoffs. Its director, Lisa Phillips, took a voluntary 30 percent pay cut, and other senior staff took similar cuts on a sliding scale from 10–20 percent.
— Whitney Museum: In anticipation of losing $7 million and potentially not reopening until July, the Whitney laid off 76 workers. Its director, Adam Weinberg, also announced pay cuts, and said there was a possibility the laid-off workers would be rehired when the museum reopened.
— Akron Art Museum: Located an hour outside Cleveland, the museum said it would impose pay cuts—department heads’ wages would be cut by 10 percent, and another 12 employees would receive a 5 percent pay cut. Twelve more employees will be reclassified from full-time to part-time.
— Cleveland Museum of Art: On March 26, the CMA said it would furlough all of its part-timers and cut the wages of all non-unionized staff by 11 percent–15 percent. Any forthcoming projects with contractors were suspended.
— The Portland Art Museum put 168 employees—80 percent of its staff—on “unpaid leave” on April 10.
— Carnegie Museums: The Pittsburgh-based consortium of museums—which includes the Carnegie Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum—said that it would furlough more than half of its employees. About 75 percent of those workers are part-timers.
— Philadelphia Museum of Art: With plans to be closed through June, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has made pay cuts for all workers who make more than $30,000 annually. The museum has publicly stated that it is hoping to avoid layoffs.