The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met to its friends – is the largest art museum in the United States, and one of New York City’s largest tourist attractions, drawing an average of 7.3 million visitors a year, over a third of them international tourists. It will be 150 years old in June, and there were large celebrations planned for the anniversary, but they’ve had to be canceled in light of current events.
In fact, everything is being canceled. On March 13, a few days in advance of New York Governor Cuomo shutting down the state, the Met closed the doors of all three of their locations to the public. At the time, hoping to re-open in July, the museum board predicted a $100 million shortfall in their budget for next year, due to the crisis. Without ticket sales or fundraising events, and with a serious hit to the museum’s $3.6 billion endowment due to stock market volatility, the museum expected to hurt.
But on April 22nd, they revised that estimate. $100 million became $150 million, and further cuts would have to be made. The top executives of the museum will be taking 10 percent cuts to their salaries, with CEO Daniel Weiss and Director Max Hollein taking off 20 percent. At the other end of the staffing ladder, however, 81 employees in the museum’s staffing and retail departments are being laid off.
If anyone is interested in the numbers, Weiss is paid over $1.2 million a year, according to the Met’s 2018 tax filings, including a tax-free housing allowance. His 20 percent cut amounted to approximately $240,000. A sales associate at the Met makes $11 an hour, or a little shy of $23,000 a year, before taxes. Meaning that more than half of those jobs could have been traded for what they are still paying Weiss.
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