Facing a period of turmoil amid a coronavirus closure, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has laid off 81 employees in its visitor services and retail departments. The museum had previously said that it expects a shortfall of $100 million in revenue and that it will most likely remain closed through July. This round of layoffs is the museum’s first since it temporarily shuttered in March.
Alongside the layoffs came news that executives at the museum would take pay cuts. Max Hollein, the museum’s director, and Daniel H. Weiss, its president and CEO, will take voluntary cuts of 20 percent, and 11 others in senior positions will take 10 percent cuts.
“Our two primary objectives continue to be doing all that we can to support the health and safety of our community and to protect the long-term financial health of the museum,” Weiss said in a statement. “The arts and culture community is facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in our lifetimes. On this our 150th anniversary year, we take strength from the resilience and vision that built our beloved institution. While we are not immune from the impact of this pandemic, the Met is a strong and enduring institution and will remain one.”
Earlier this month, the Met said it would pay all employees’ salaries through May 2. That deadline was extended from April 4, the date through which the museum originally said it would guarantee continuing making payments to employees.
The Met now joins other major New York museums that have laid off employees. The Whitney Museum cut 76 employees in April and said it expects to lose $7 million, and the Museum of Modern Art terminated the contracts of all freelancers in its education department. Meanwhile, the Guggenheim Museum and the New Museum have both furloughed a significant percentage of employees, as has MoMA PS1, which now only has 17 full-time employees remaining on its staff and is facing what its director recently called the “most significant financial crisis” in its history.