The global pandemic clobbered museums, forcing more than half of all U.S. institutions to lay off staff. Even as exhibitions and timed admissions sell out amid a desire by vaccinated art lovers to return to the live experience, it will be “years” before any meaningful recovery, a survey released today shows.
56% of museums have furloughed or laid off staff since the global art world came to a screeching halt in March 2020, including 22% saying they laid off full-time workers, and 28% laying off part-time employees, according to the report by Arlington, Virginia-based American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the full breadth of the museum community.
Creative workers across industries have experienced massive financial setbacks, often life changing, over the last 14 months. Those who continue to work are hustling multiple gigs for lower pay, as wage reductions have a severe impact.
At the time of the survey, museums reported that an average of 14% of staff remain furloughed.
46% of museums said their staff size has shrunk since 2019, with an average reduction of 29% and nearly all cuts attributed to the adverse impact of the pandemic. 44% of total respondents plan to rehire or increase staff size in the coming year, 31% do not plan to do so, and 26% remain unsure.
The bleeding of jobs was inevitable under the dire circumstances for arts and culture across the world.
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