COVID-related reductions come to Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center shared news on June 1st of significant staff and salary reductions as result of the COVID-19 related closure and future reduced capacity.

“This is a devastating moment for our teams,” said Elizabeth Pierce, Museum Center president and CEO. “We’ve had incredible momentum and engagement with the community following the restoration of Union Terminal. COVID-19 has forced us to make excruciating decisions for the future survival of our mission. It is heartbreaking to part ways with so many people who have dedicated their passion to our organization, building it into an award-winning museum whose legacy stretches back over 200 years. Our departing colleagues will always be part of the heart and soul of Cincinnati Museum Center and are celebrated for their incredible impact on our community.”

When the COVID-19 closure began March 14, CMC furloughed all part-time hourly staff. Relief funds from donors and the federal Paycheck Protection Program allowed CMC to retain full salaries and benefits for all full-time staff through July 1. CMC will finish fiscal year 2020 with a loss of $3.5M in earned revenue and projects a loss of $8M in earned revenue for fiscal year 2021 due to reduced operating capacity.

In light of such projections, CMC is making $4M in staffing reductions (a 40% cut in staffing costs) along with myriad cost-cutting measures. This includes position eliminations of 50 full-time staff and 125 part-time staff who were previously furloughed. Salary reductions ranging from 5-20% impacted an additional 52 exempt staff. Additionally, senior leadership took a 40% reduction in compensation and related benefits. These changes will be effective July 1.

Awaiting guidance from state and local health officials, CMC is preparing for the possibility of a mid-July reopening of portions of the museum experience. While extensive measures to ensure guest, volunteer and staff safety may mean future visits will be somewhat different, CMC insists the impact of the experience will not be diminished.

Among the steps CMC is taking to keep its guests, volunteers and staff safe is instituting timed tickets for both general museum admission to the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Cincinnati History Museum and our current featured exhibition Maya: The Exhibition. Timed tickets will help manage the number of people in each experience, ensuring proper social distancing of six feet or more. Given the high touch nature of certain exhibits, some areas will be offline upon reopening. CMC is working on adapting many interactive elements for guests’ personal mobile devices.

Extensive cleaning protocols will ensure the building is clean and sanitized multiple times per day, including particular attention to high touchpoint areas like doors, elevators, handrails, countertops and restrooms. For the safety of guests, volunteers and colleagues, masks will be worn by CMC staff and volunteers at all times and CMC is asking all guests to please do the same. Additionally, CMC will provide signage and floor markings encouraging guests to abide by the six-foot social distancing recommended by health officials.

“We are doing our part to create a safe, clean environment for our guests, volunteers and staff and we’re asking everyone to please experience our museum responsibly,” said Pierce. “We need our community to help ensure our museum remains a safe space for everyone.”

CMC will share more details of its reopening plan over the next several weeks.

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