Tenement Museum Faces ‘Extraordinary Crisis’ Amidst COVID-19 Shutdown

Posted on: March 27th, 2020 at 5:05 am by

The Tenement Museum is struggling to stay afloat, as the COVID-19 shutdown eliminated foot traffic and steady funding.

Since closing to the public on March 14, the Lower East Side museum laid off 13 full-time employees (out of 66) – mostly from marketing, visitor services, and gift shop – and told another 40 not to report to work (but receive health insurance through June).

Normally a cash cow, the museum was forced to cancel its annual gala fundraiser scheduled for April 23, and is instead conducting an online campaign. The subject line of the letter sent out on March 19 reads: “These are extraordinary times. The Tenement Museum is an extraordinary place. The Museum faces an extraordinary crisis.”

Founded in 1988, the Tenement Museum is an affiliate site of the National Park Service, and usually sees more than 280,000 visitors a year. It consists of the museum itself at 97 Orchard Street and its educational facility up the block at 103 Orchard.

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