National Museum of American Jewish History Layoffs Axing 18 Jobs

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American Jewish History Museum is Cutting Jobs

The National Museum of American Jewish History, located at the Independence Mall in Philadelphia, is cutting over a dozen full-time jobs as it struggles with a multi-million-dollar budget deficit.

Museum CEO and Director Ivy Barsky has confirmed that the museum is eliminating 18 of its full-time positions. A total of 12 members of the museum’s staff have already been laid off, out of a total of 50 full-time positions at the museum. The remaining six job cuts will include full-time positions that are currently vacant. (Source: “Layoffs, cost cuts for Jewish museum,” Philly.com, June 9, 2017.)
In addition, the museum has announced that it will now be closed two days of the week now—Mondays and Tuesdays—instead of just one day per week. Previously, the museum used to be closed only on Mondays.

What’s worse is that the museum has also frozen employee salaries for now.

In addition to these measures, the museum has announced small pay cuts to the top management. The CEO disclosed that she would voluntarily cut her own salary—which currently stands at $324,000—by $25,000.

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Museum’s Budget Deficit Nears $2.0 Million

As of this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the museum is facing a budget deficit of $1.8 million. Moreover, its expenses have risen to roughly $10.6 million. Management is now aiming to bring annual costs down to about $8.0 million.

The museum generates nearly 80% of its annual income from charitable contributions. Barsky says that the museum has historically been able to raise between $6.0 million to $8.0 million from contributions, which has been just enough for the museum to manage its costs and continue its operations.

Barsky also points out that, simply to keep the museum’s doors open to public, the organization needs at least $2.0 million to $3.0 million to cover fixed costs.

The Jewish history museum opened its doors back in 2010. In the first year, the museum saw its record membership numbers, when 18,000 members signed up. However, that number dropped to 12,000 members by 2012. Since then, members have continued to leave over the years. As of now, the museum has a loyal membership base of 6,000.

However, the membership fees don’t cover the museum’s costs, causing management to resort to the drastic measure of job cuts.

The layoffs, salary freezes/cuts, and increased closures are expected to save the museum roughly $1.3 million in annual costs. At the same time, management is looking for ways to attract more visitors to the museum in order to increase its revenue. (Source: Ibid.)

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