The Baltimore Museum of Art laid off 14 employees last week, in a move to "ensure financial sustainability," as the museum's press release put it. The BMA eliminated five currently unfilled positions, 11 full-time positions, and three part-time positions, while also adding four new positions in what they call "strategic areas," so that, in all, the museum eliminated 15 jobs. "Every area of the museum is impacted by the restructuring," Anne Brown, the BMA's spokesperson, told City Paper in an email. "Eliminated positions were a range of directors, managers, and assistants."
In addition to the reduction in personnel, the museum plans on "restructuring staff in key areas, increasing contributed and earned revenue, and reducing the draw on the Museum's endowment," according to the press release. "For the past five years, we have managed to reduce expenses in every other area of the Museum," the museum's director Doreen Bolger said in the release. "Now, in order to sustain the Museum for the future, we must reduce personnel costs. Like many other museums, we could no longer avoid this difficult and painful decision."
The museum, which is undergoing a $24.5 million restoration*, cites a 43-percent reduction in government grants and a 39-percent decrease in the value of the museum's endowment as the main sources of their woes.
The BMA announced that it will seek greater income from facility rental and that the museum is committed to remaining free to the general public.
"The cuts were made with the intention of minimizing the impact on the BMA's service to the community," Bolger said. "We will have to change the way we work and the transition will be difficult, but we are committed to presenting our world-class collection and exhibitions, preserving our education and public programs, and maintaining free general admission for all."
* We initially reported that this figure was the cost of the restoration of the Contemporary Wing, which actually accounts for only $6.5 million of the total $24.5 million. We regret the error.