The Met’s not making its numbers. The New York institution is $10m behind this year and fearful the deficit could grow to $40m if it doesn’t act to reduce operating costs.
Robin Pogrebin makes the announcement of a 24-month financial restructuring in the New York Times.
Since 70% of the museum’s costs are in salaries, there’s a plan in place to reduce headcount by dozens of positions through hiring freezes, voluntary buyouts and, if necessary, some layoffs.
The financial straits stem from several factors, the Met said: Retail revenue has declined (by $3 million to $4 million over the last year), salaries have increased, and the museum has to pay $8.5 million a year in debt service on $250 million in bonds issued for capital infrastructure work.
In addition, the Met’s growing population of younger visitors are paying less at the door, as are tourists. Though the Met has a hefty annual operating budget of $300 million, with annual attendance of 6.3 million, a decline of “30 to 40 cents per person is material,” [Museum President Daniel] Weiss said.