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The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Eliminates 113 Staff Positions

Faced with financial uncertainty and still closed to the public, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) has eliminated 113 full- and part-time positions after fifty-six staff members were laid off and fifty-seven others voluntarily took early retirements. According to a statement released by the institution, the restructuring plan, which downsizes staff by 15 percent, will “create stability and sustainability for the MFA” and “accommodate our new realities—which include a reduction in our workforce.”

Closed since March 13 due to the pandemic, the museum furloughed 301 employees, about 40 percent of its staff, in early April. At the same time, director Matthew Teitelbaum’s salary—which was $841,921 as of 2018—was reduced by 30 percent through June 30, when the museum initially planned to open its doors again. While other museums in Massachusetts have begun to welcome visitors under phase three of the state’s plan, the MFA has remained indefinitely closed with no scheduled reopening date, although it hopes to reopen in early autumn. A spokesperson for the museum told Artnet that its 211 furloughed staff members will return to work in August.

The MFA anticipates the loss of between $12 million and $14 million in revenue for the 2020 fiscal year. It joins the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and numerous other arts institutions in the US that have chosen to shrink their workforces in order to offset the steep financial toll induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.