Annual Report Shows Just How Rough Finances Were for the Met in 2008-09

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Just how bad did the economic downfall hit museums? If you take the Metropolitan Museum of Art as your example, it should provide a good indication. BusinessWeek gives a quick rundown on the famous museum’s just-released 2008-2009 annual report, showing just how dramatic the financial cutoff was (a decline of about 24%, or $660 million). Here’s a bit:

The museum “never expected to find itself facing the unprecedented challenges that were brought on by the recent global financial crisis,” wrote President Emily K. Rafferty and Director Thomas P. Campbell, who took over in January 2009 from its longest-serving boss, Philippe de Montebello.

The operating deficit widened to $8.4 million from $1.9 million. Spokesman Harold Holzer said that was a record for the 140-year-old museum. Designated gifts by donors plunged by 46 percent to $43.1 million, according to the report.

And that’s on top of more visitors and more outreach using the internet. It’s no new news, but gives a good picture on how badly the much smaller museums (and most are smaller than the Met) must have suffered over this last year and a half (at least those that survived). What’s more, it doesn’t look like 2010 is going to be much of a walk in the park either, at least for New York museums like the Met, asArt Info reports on the predicted budget cuts headed their way soon.