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Oakland Museum of California. Photo: Ron Gilbert/Flickr.
Oakland Museum of California. Photo: Ron Gilbert/Flickr.

Oakland Museum of California Cutting Staff, Restructuring

The Oakland Museum of California is set to slash 15 percent of staff amid a major organizational restructuring, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The museum, which has been closed since March of last year, lost roughly $2.5 million in revenue owing to the continuing Covid-19 crisis. The restructuring will touch all departments and is in part being carried out with the intent of rendering the museum an “anti-racist and equitable multicultural institution,” according to a press release.

Employees were notified Friday that the East Bay museum will consolidate its 126 full-time positions to 106, with some staff moving to different positions and others encouraged to apply for newly created roles. Lori Fogarty, who will remain as the institution’s director and CEO, said in a statement that “this organizational redesign is intended to make the museum more relevant to our community, and is consistent with our vision for our social impact.”

Like other arts institutions worldwide, the Oakland Museum has struggled amid the pandemic; last June, when the museum’s Payment Protection Funds ran out, the institution, which was in the midst of renovating its expansive gardens, reduced staff hours across the board in an attempt to stave off job losses. The present cuts were determined following a series of workshops held in January during which administrators sought the advice of staff regarding cuts. The restructuring is estimated to reduce the museum’s annual operating budget from $16.6 million to $14 million, with approximately $1 million being saved in payroll costs. Despite the cuts, the museum projects lost revenue of $2.3 million in the fiscal year ahead.

The Oakland Museum, which houses to Dorothea Lange’s personal archive and has in recent years been lauded for exhibitions focusing on the Black Panther Party, hip-hop culture, LGTBQ California, and the work of Charles and Ray Eames, is allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity under California’s latest Covid-19 rules but has not yet announced an opening date.

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