Asian Art Museum’s Sudden Struggle to Avoid Bankruptcy

While just a few days ago we were saying that the possible comeback of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, which was one of the first large cultural organizations to close in the wake of the financial crisis, might be some sort of sign that the worst was over for museums and the rebuilding would commence shortly. Fortunately, we try never to speak in absolutes, as just this week another in a long series of museums has hit a particularly dire rough patch. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Asian Art Museumin that city has suddenly found itself in danger of declaring bankruptcy and possible closure as early as this week, should it not be able to work out a new deal with their bank to the tune of $120 million in loans. Though the museum has struggled for the past five years, hence the large borrowing, their lender’s decision to call in the debt so quickly has left them in a tight spot. Add to that a decrease in donors over the past couple of lean years and smaller attendance numbers and the situation seems all the more dire. The Chronicle reports that the museum will be meeting with city officials, as well as the lender, to see if a way out that doesn’t involve bankruptcy or closed doors can be found.