Museum of the City of New York: Reduced but Reopening – The New York Times

Many museums are having a hard time financially because the pandemic required them to close, the city museum is among medium or smaller sized ones that are dealing with a particularly challenging path forward. Like other institutions its size, it has a modest but growing endowment– $27 million– and does not boast a board of incredibly rich donors who can be called on to support its profits with immediate gifts.

Near the top of New Yorks Museum Mile, north of the Cooper Hewitt, a gem from the Gilded Age, and the Guggenheim, itself a Frank-Lloyd-Wright-work-of-art, and the classical majesty of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sits the Museum of the City of New York.
It, too, occupies a building of architectural difference, a five-story, red brick and marble Georgian Colonial-Revival finished in 1932 and the home of the museum ever considering that.
It can be overlooked amid the star power of its cultural next-door neighbors, even when it punches above its weight with extensive exhibits like “New York at Its Core,” which takes a look at the citys history considering that 1609 or “Activist New York,” which reviews the city through the prism of social justice and political agitation.
” If you had to choose one place to learn about New York City, it would most likely be the Museum of the City of New York,” stated Kenneth T. Jackson, a previous president of the New-York Historical Society and editor of the Encyclopedia of the City of New York.

Since closing in March, the museum has actually laid off 20 percent of its 100 full-time-equivalent and full-time staff members. Others have been furloughed or are working fewer hours.

Executive incomes were cut by 25 percent, stated Whitney Donhauser, the museums director. Ms. Donhauser, who makes $371,000 in salary, said she and the museums deputy director had both taken pay cuts of 35 percent.
Ms. Donhauser summarized the monetary situation in an email last month to the personnel.
” With the closing of the Museum,” she wrote, “came the loss of all of our major streams of earnings, consisting of admissions, venue rentals, and crucial fund-raising occasions.” To address this, she continued, costs were cut in “all locations of the Museum– exhibit, personnel and education programs, collections and structure operations.”

Museum authorities stated it incurred a deficit of $1.9 million this year and faces a possible deficit next year. A museum spokeswoman, Meryl Cooper, said this years deficit was dealt with by part of a $1.7 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan that the museum wishes to become a grant and by about $850,000 from the endowment. The museum has actually also received additional monetary aid from the New York Community Trust and Terra Foundation for American Art.
The museum has often operated with tight margins, Ms. Donhauser said she believed it would emerge from the pandemic in excellent shape.
” I do feel positive,” she said. “I do believe that the museum remains in a solid location.”
When the city museum was established in 1923, its objective overlapped in some methods with that of the older New-York Historical Society. At points there was talk about merging the 2 organizations, but they have actually remained independent and on opposite sides of Central Park, with the City museum, on Fifth Avenue in between 103rd and 104th Streets, concentrating solely on history within the 5 districts.
The museums name makes it sound a bit like a local entity, it is run by a private not-for-profit. It does get some funding from the citys Department of Cultural Affairs and is housed in a city-owned building

The museums yearly budget has hovered around $15 million for many of the last numerous years, however Ms. Donhauser said that it was forecasted to be about $11.5 million for the fiscal year starting in July.

The City Museum, panned years earlier by some as too staid in its shows, was commonly viewed as having ended up being more energetic in the 2000s. Exhibits, consisting of one that detailed the physical transformation of New York by Robert Moses and another that included 10s of countless classic photographs of the city, drew worldwide attention.

In 2011 the museum was safe adequate to take over the operations of the beleaguered South Street Seaport Museum, using a $2 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. That plan liquified two years later after Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage to the Seaport Museum and the City Museums board chose to concentrate on its own affairs.
Ms. Donhauser was named the director in 2015 and in 2017 the Thompson Family Foundation contributed $10 million to the museum, its biggest gift ever. The museums endowment is now at $27 million, she said, up from about $9 million a couple of years earlier.

Updated June 24, 2020

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Museum authorities stated it incurred a deficit of $1.9 million this year and faces a possible deficit next year. A museum spokesperson, Meryl Cooper, stated this years deficit was dealt with by part of a $1.7 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan that the museum hopes to turn into a grant and by about $850,000 from the endowment. The museum has actually likewise received additional financial assistance from the New York Community Trust and Terra Foundation for American Art.
An extensively mentioned paper released in April suggests that individuals are most transmittable about two days before the beginning of coronavirus symptoms and approximated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing signs. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microorganisms have actually revealed that respiratory diseases, consisting of the brand-new coronavirus, can spread out by touching polluted surfaces, especially in locations like day care centers, workplaces and hospitals.

Meanwhile, she and others were beginning to think about the museums reopening, which is planned for July 23 if the city continues to progress in stemming the coronavirus. Curators are now preparing a fall exhibit to be called “New York Responds: Beyond Covid.”.
A model for that sort of exhibit might be the 2018 program “Germ City,” which took a look at upsurges in the city consisting of the 1918 flu epidemic that eliminated more than 20,000 people.
” There are a lot of obstacles ahead of us but there is likewise a terrific opportunity to present the intricacies of New York,” Ms. Donhauser said. “We have the curatorial competence and knowledge to present a very nuanced discussion about what the city is going through.”.

But there were likewise intense areas. While the museum has been closed it has actually drawn large audiences for its online programs, that includes a series called “Curators From the Couch,” including talks with artists and others, and “Covid Stories,” which has gathered more than 4,000 pictures and accounts documenting a socially distanced city.
Amongst the possibilities being gone over at the museum, she stated, are online adult education courses on New York topics that might cost around $20 for a series. Those may be accompanied by a reading list, Ms. Donhauser said, as well as online discussions moderated by managers.