YONKERS, June 11, 2010. In the face of continuing challenges in the economy, the Hudson River Museum announced a program plan for the July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 fiscal year that will entail some program reductions across the full range of Museum activities.
Reduced endowment funds, and shrinking of government, corporate, foundation and individual giving have severely impacted the Museum over the last two years. Up to now, the Museum has kept its programs intact by reorganizing departments and reducing staff through attrition. In the last 24 months, the Museum has trimmed 6 full-time and 2 part-time positions from its work force, achieving savings in excess of $300,000. In the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, all Museum staff took a 3.5% salary cut (excluding staff earning less than $30,000), and the Museum suspended its matching contribution to the retirement benefit. Museum staff now also pay a portion of their health insurance costs.
Working with County Executive Astorino, the Museum took a cut of $87,000 in its contract with Westchester County this spring. That cut is retroactive to January 1, 2010. This cutback, along with continuing weakness in all categories of fundraising, prompted the changes in the Museum’s programs and schedule.
Beginning July 1, the Museum’s public hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 5pm. The Museum will no longer be open until 7:30 pm on Fridays. There will be no Planetarium show at 6:30 pm on Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Planetarium’s four-show schedule has been changed to three shows, offered at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm. Access to the Museum for school groups Monday to Friday remains unchanged. The Museum’s popular weekend public programs including performances, the family program, Creative Connections, and Science Sundays will be reduced in frequency by about 25%. One or another of these programs will be offered on three weekends of the month. The Museum’s widely attended Seniors & the Arts cultural programs will be offered monthly, instead of semi-monthly. The Museum has also rescheduled several exhibitions. Two exhibitions scheduled for FY 2010-11, Susan Wides: Kaaterskill/Manahatta and Elihu Vedder: Voyage on the Nile, will instead be presented in 2011-12. This change spreads the Museum’s exhibition costs over a longer time period.
Museum Chair, Jan Adelson said: “We are committed to keeping the Museum active and offering exhibitions, programs, and educational programs for children and for our key constituencies. We are adopting a prudent approach so that we can avoid massive cutbacks in what we do. The trustees have been very aggressive in searching for new sources of support and making sure the Museum lives within its means.”
Museum Director Michael Botwinick said: “We have largely avoided layoffs by using attrition to reduce staff and reallocate responsibilities. In spite of the salary and resource reductions, the staff is committed to offering our public a rich schedule of exhibitions and programs. Our research work goes on; our work with schools, teachers, and school districts all go on.
We will present three extremely important exhibitions this coming season; Richard Deon: Paradox and Conformity: Paintings and Prints (July 3-Sept 5); Paintbox Leaves: The Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth (Sept 25 – Jan 16, 2011,) and Chemistry of Color: The Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art (Feb 5 – May 8). They will enrich our community and form the basis for powerful programs for school children, families and visitors of all kinds.”
The Museum had audited expenses of $3.133 million in FY 2009. Approximately 26% of the budget is supported by a county contract. The Museum conducts programs with 50 Westchester school districts. 85% of its attendance comes from Westchester. The Museum has a staff of 29 full-time and 10 part-time employees. The Museum was founded as a department of the City of Yonkers in 1919. The City of Yonkers owns the Museum buildings and land and provides support for some maintenance and capital projects. The Museum was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 1948.
The Hudson River Museum is located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY. Minutes from the Saw Mill River Parkway, exit 9, north or southbound. Information and directions: 914.963.4550 and www.hrm.org. Wed - Sun 12- 5 pm. Fridays 12-7:30 pm. Admission: Adults $5; Seniors 62 & older and youth 5-16 $3. Fridays 5 to 7:30 pm free.
The largest cultural institution in Westchester County, the Hudson River Museum is a multi-disciplinary complex that draws its identity from its site on the banks of the Hudson River, and seeks to broaden the cultural horizons of all its visitors. It engages in the presentation of exhibitions, programs, teaching initiatives, research, collection, preservation, and conservation – a wide range of activities that interpret its collections, interests and communities.