According to a report by the New York Times, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which closed to the public last week, is currently preparing for potential closure until July and a $100 million loss over the next year due to costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The museum is committed to paying all its employees, who are currently working from home, through April 4, as the institution considers possible scenarios involving layoffs, furloughs, and other measures. According to a letter obtained by the Times that was sent to museum department heads by Met president Daniel Weiss and director Max Hollein, other possibilities include the prospect of plans, upon reopening, to present “a reduced program and lower cost structure that anticipates lower attendance for at least the next year due to reduced global and domestic tourism and spending.”
The letter states that the heads of the Met “have a profound responsibility to protect and preserve the treasured institution we inherited” in this “extraordinarily challenging time for us all.”
The Times said that the museum is also establishing a $50 million emergency fund with money reserved for acquisitions and programming to be directed to operational expenses and fundraising efforts.
Laura Lott, president and chief executive officer of the American Alliance of Museums, told the Times that the financial impact the Met projects is a troubling signal for smaller institutions in the United States. “This situation is by far more dire than anything I have experienced in my 25 years of being an arts finance professional,” she said.