In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has announced it will remain closed until June 30, and furlough staff eligible for unemployment insurance. The museum’s director, Matthew Teitelbaum, will reduce his compensation by 30 percent during this period, according to a statement issued by the museum on Friday.
All eligible employees will receive full health care benefits and “there will be no layoffs at this time,” the statement reads, while the museum implements “cost containment measures” like leaning on endowment funds.
“From the beginning of this unprecedented moment, our primary goal was to minimize financial stress for our staff,” Teitelbaum said in a statement. “We know it’s impossible to feel completely safe in such uncertain times, but it is our hope that this plan will provide some financial security in the coming months.”
This year marks the museum's 150th year and the MFA had planned to open a major exhibition of its collection of Monet paintings this month.
In March the MFA joined other prominent local art institutions in closing their doors out of “increased vigilance” in response to the spread of the virus. The museum was also forced to cancel its annual black-tie fundraising gala.
As the financial impact of the pandemic deepens, public museums in Boston continue to adapt and update their policies. The MFA says employees will be notified about furloughs beginning next week, and furloughs will continue through June 30, though “the MFA may need to revise this course of action should the situation around the pandemic change.”
The MFA’s long-term plan is also in flux, and what the museum looks like to visitors may look very different after the worst of the pandemic is over. “Expectations are that implications of the pandemic could affect visitation for all cultural organizations long into the future,” the MFA statement reads, “and that museums will likely reopen with a much different model.”