Shrinking Endowments Force Guggenheim to Lay Off Eight Percent of Staff

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The Guggenheim is the latest museum foundation to publicly suffer this rocky economic climate, having just announced that they will be laying off eight percent of their workforce, or twenty-five people in total. In addition, as has become par for the course since things took a turn toward the grim last year, they will be cutting back on any and all expenses in an attempt to hopefully keep everything afloat for a bit longer. All of this, of course, is due to the Guggenheim losing a healthy chunk of their regular endowments, like what’s happening all across the board in the industry. Though, for now, it appears that there won’t be any cutbacks in what’s being displayed in their museums around the world, despite its history not discounting that that might also happen around the corner:

Still, [director Richard Armstrong] emphasized, no exhibitions have been canceled and the museum’s hours will remain the same. Attendance stands at an all-time high of 1.1 million visitors a year. “The shows will go on a bit longer, but our commitments remain intact,” he said.

Tough times have affected the Guggenheim before. In 1994, during another economic downturn, nearly 10 percent of its staff was dismissed, operating hours were reduced and its library was temporarily closed. After 9/11, when the institution was crippled by a drop in tourism, admissions plunged almost 60 percent and revenue ran about half of projections. As a result, about 80 employees, or roughly a fifth of the staff, received pink slips.