Two-week Furlough and Museum Closure
SAM Downtown, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park Pavilion were closed to the public for two weeks, January 31ĖFebruary 15, 2011. The staff also took a furlough during this time. The closure was timed to take place between major exhibitions (shortly after Picasso closed and before the March 10th opening of Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth) and during a historically slow time of year. SAM staff returned to the administrative offices on February 14.
Like many institutions, SAM has been financially challenged over the past two years, and has worked hard to cut its operating budget, including making staff reductions, to achieve financial stability. Reducing our valued staff is always a last resort option, and the two-week furlough was necessary at this time to avoid even greater reductions. A concentrated, full closure of the museum has a smaller impact on overall operations and a greater impact on the 2011 fiscal year budget than spreading the necessary reduction of hours over the course of the year. The closure was announced in May 2010 to give staff and visitors time to plan, and takes place between special exhibitions and at a historically slower time of year.
The best way to support SAM in this difficult economic time is through the Annual Fund.
Admission fees and membership dues cover only 40 percent of the museumís annual operating
costs. Now more than ever, we appreciate your gift at any level to help us ensure that SAM
continues to thrive in our community. The most effective way to give during the furlough is via
the SAM website.
The closure is estimated to save more than $200,000.
We are thrilled with the enthusiastic response to Picasso, and there is no doubt that this success will positively impact our Fiscal Year 2011 budget. But our need for revenue is still absolutely critical to be able to sustain the museum financially for the long-term. We need continued support in all revenue streams.
We have been working hard over the past fiscal year to reduce our non-compensation related expenses and bolster revenues without compromising the museumís mission. Examples include: