Met Museum Prepares for $100 Million Loss and Closure Till July

By Robin Pogrebin
Visitors outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Thursday, right before it closed to the public. Its target date for reopening now seems likely to be July.
In a powerful sign that casualties of the coronavirus outbreak include even the country’s strongest cultural institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is projecting a total shortfall of close to $100 million for the near future and expects to be closed until July, according to a letter the museum sent to its department heads on Wednesday. If even a behemoth like the Met — with an operating budget of $320 million and an endowment of $3.6 billion — is anticipating such a steep financial hit, smaller institutions may not be able to survive at all. [More]

The museum made these plans based on information it has received from “the epidemiological world,” Daniel H. Weiss, the president and chief executive said — namely, that the pandemic is likely to reach its peak in early May, so recovery is unlikely to begin until at least the middle of June.
  • The Met, preparing for its own financial hardship, has developed a three-phase response:
  • having all staff members work from home and continue to be paid through April 4 as the museum evaluates possible furloughs, layoffs and voluntary retirements; 
  • from April to July, evaluating how to control spending and reduce operating costs, including freezing discretionary expenditures and hiring; 
  • and from July to October, “reopening with 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,” according to the letter.