Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art Closes for August, Suffers Layoffs


No one, it seems, is safe from the mighty blow of a ruined economy. We’ve long since lost count of how many museums and other cultural institutions we’ve talked about here who have found themselves in troubled waters. But this one in particular hurts extra bad, because we’ve always been such fans. Caught on Brown University‘s Daily Herald and also recently written about at The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island School of Design‘s Museum of Art is the latest to be hit. Despite big attendance numbers (which we’ve learned doesn’t always mean safety), the museum will be closing for the month of August and layoffs and early retirements have already taken place, all in response to a RISD’s shrinking endowments. Here’s a bit:

As for the decision to close the museum in August, [director Hope Alswang] says that she and her staff considered several options, including closing the museum on Tuesdays while remaining open year-round. In the end, closing the museum for one month each year made the most sense.

“We knew we couldn’t just nibble around the edges,” Alswang says. “We knew we had to find a solution that matched the problem — in this case, a truly harrowing drop in the museum’s endowment portfolio.”