Museum of the City of Fresh York: Diminished but Reopening – The Fresh York Cases

After layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts, the museum prepares to reopen with a diminished funds and will repeat an exhibition about the pandemic.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The Fresh York Cases

Conclude to the halt of Fresh York’s Museum Mile, north of the Cooper Hewitt, a gem from the Gilded Age, and the Guggenheim, itself a Frank-Lloyd-Wright-work-of-art work, and the classical majesty of the Metropolitan Museum of Art work, sits the Museum of the City of Fresh York.

It, too, occupies a constructing of architectural distinction, a 5-memoir, purple brick and marble Georgian Colonial-Revival done in 1932 and the dwelling of the museum ever since.

Nonetheless it may maybe maybe perhaps be overlooked amid the megastar energy of its cultural neighbors, even when it punches above its weight with enormous exhibitions treasure “Fresh York at Its Core,” which examines the metropolis’s historical previous since 1609 or “Activist Fresh York,” which critiques the metropolis during the prism of social justice and political agitation.

“When you needed to make your mind up on out one attach to search out out about Fresh York City, it may maybe well most definitely be the Museum of the City of Fresh York,” talked about Kenneth T. Jackson, a previous president of the Fresh-York Historic Society and editor of the Encyclopedia of the City of Fresh York.

Despite the actual fact that many museums are struggling financially for the reason that pandemic compelled them to shut, the metropolis museum is among medium or smaller ones that are going through a specifically subtle direction forward. Devour other institutions its dimension, it has a modest but rising endowment — $27 million — and would no longer boast a board of extraordinarily effectively off donors who may maybe perhaps be called on to shore up its income with quick items.

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Credit…Krista Schlueter for The Fresh York Cases

Since closing in March, the museum has laid off 20 percent of its 100 beefy-time and whole-time-identical workers. Others were furloughed or are working fewer hours.

Executive salaries were reduce again by 25 percent, talked about Whitney Donhauser, the museum’s director. Ms. Donhauser, who makes $371,000 in salary, talked about she and the museum’s deputy director had both taken pay cuts of 35 percent.

Ms. Donhauser summed up the monetary remark in an email closing month to the workers.

“With the closing of the Museum,” she wrote, “came the lack of all of our foremost streams of profits, including admissions, venue leases, and demanding fund-elevating events.” To address this, she persevered, expenses were reduce again in “all areas of the Museum — workers, exhibition and schooling programming, collections and constructing operations.”

Museum officials talked about it incurred a deficit of $1.9 million this year and faces a probable deficit next year as effectively. A museum spokeswoman, Meryl Cooper, talked about this year’s deficit turned into addressed by share of a $1.7 million federal Paycheck Security Program mortgage that the museum hopes to affirm into a grant and by about $850,000 from the endowment. The museum has additionally obtained extra monetary relief from the Fresh York Community Have faith and Terra Foundation for American Art work.

Despite the actual fact that the museum has generally operated with tight margins, Ms. Donhauser talked about she believed it may maybe well emerge from the pandemic in correct shape.

“I attain feel assured,” she talked about. “I attain mediate that the museum is in a stable attach.”

When the metropolis museum turned into primarily based in 1923, its mission overlapped in many methods with that of the older Fresh-York Historic Society. At factors there turned into discuss merging the two institutions, but they’ve remained fair and on opposite sides of Central Park, with the City museum, on Fifth Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets, concentrating exclusively on historical previous for the length of the 5 boroughs.

Despite the actual fact that the museum’s title makes it sound a minute treasure a municipal entity, it’s flee by a non-public nonprofit. It does salvage some funding from the metropolis’s Department of Cultural Affairs and is housed in a metropolis-owned constructing

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Credit…Philip Greenberg for The Fresh York Cases

The City Museum, panned years ago by some as too staid in its programming, turned into broadly seen as having turn out to be extra stuffed with life in the 2000s. Exhibitions, including one which detailed the bodily transformation of Fresh York by Robert Moses and one other that featured tens of thousands of vintage photos of the metropolis, drew global consideration.

In 2011 the museum turned into stable ample to internet over the operations of the beleaguered South Boulevard Seaport Museum, the use of a $2 million grant from the Decrease Fresh york Pattern Corporation. Nonetheless that diagram dissolved two years later after Hurricane Sandy caused excessive hurt to the Seaport Museum and the City Museum’s board made up our minds to be wide awake of its possess affairs.

Ms. Donhauser turned into named the director in 2015 and in 2017 the Thompson Household Foundation donated $10 million to the museum, its preferrred gift ever. The museum’s endowment is now at $27 million, she talked about, up from about $9 million a couple of years ago.

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Credit…Chang W. Lee/The Fresh York Cases

The museum’s annual funds has hovered spherical $15 million for heaps of the closing a whole lot of years, but Ms. Donhauser talked about that it turned into projected to be about $11.5 million for the fiscal year beginning in July.

  • Updated June 24, 2020

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Nonetheless there were additionally attractive spots. Whereas the museum has been closed it has drawn shipshape audiences for its on-line programming, which contains a series called “Curators From the Sofa,” featuring talks with artists and others, and “Covid Tales,” which has nonetheless extra than 4,000 photos and accounts documenting a socially distanced metropolis.

Amongst the potentialities being discussed on the museum, she talked about, are on-line adult schooling classes on Fresh York issues that would price spherical $20 for a series. These may maybe well be accompanied by a learning list, Ms. Donhauser talked about, as well to on-line conversations moderated by curators.

In the intervening time, she and others were beginning to take into narrative the museum’s reopening, which is deliberate for July 23 if the metropolis continues to development in stemming the coronavirus. Curators for the time being are preparing a tumble exhibition to be called “Fresh York Responds: Past Covid.”

A mannequin for that model of exhibition may maybe well be the 2018 repeat “Germ City,” which examined epidemics in the metropolis including the 1918 flu epidemic that killed extra than 20,000 of us.

“There are so much of challenges forward of us but there may maybe be additionally a huge opportunity to repeat the complexities of Fresh York,” Ms. Donhauser talked about. “We’ve the curatorial expertise and data to repeat a truly nuanced discussion about what the metropolis is going through.”

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