/ cultural

How Do Museums Pay for Themselves These Days? (circa 2012)

via Huffington Post

Over the past four years of recession and lagging economic recovery, one museum after another across the country has cut back on hours, staff, salaries (and staff benefits) and programming, raised admissions, looked to sell objects from their collections in order to pay for operations or just closed for good. Righting the financial ship has been the order of the day, and Schimmel may just be the latest casualty of this decidedly non-art-sounding trend.

…There is still a sense of denial in museums about change and about financial trouble. We have been in trouble so long, the instability is nearly structural…

Whilst trying to figure out the museum industry in British Columbia, Canada, I kept hearing that many museums were struggling with funding. After visiting a few, interning, talking to and listening to passing conversations of staff, I realised the struggle was real.

Having previously worked in the cultural sector in Singapore, the Singapore complaints of lacking funding seemed less “desperate” than those in British Columbia. Perhaps an unfounded comparison, but that was my perception.

I soon realised that a job in the cultural sector in British Columbia was a really tough challenge, what with mostly part-timers, volunteers and a barely any open full-time positions for locals, let alone a foreigner.

This whole experience really made me think long and hard about how museums function, their ethos and managing their bottom-lines.