No Tours and Layoffs: It’s Dire Times for the Tenement Museum

Posted on: July 24th, 2020 at 5:01 am by

The Tenement Museum is barely treading water during these pandemic times.

The 76 “temporary” furloughs of front-facing, part-time hourly staff on March 13 are now permanent. The organization applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Program loan under the CARES Act; it was put towards recalling the 40 furloughed full-time staff, and is scheduled to run out by September 20. The museum president also took a 99% salary reduction; additional salary reductions for senior staff are currently being considered.

Museum tours are also closed for the foreseeable future, which will result in an additional 50% budget reduction for the coming year.

The museum was unable to physically hold their annual gala, and in the absence of in-person ticket sales and gift shop purchases, resorted to online campaigning (Facebook) for fundraising efforts. A fundraiser earlier this year during the COVID-19 shutdown raised over $30,000.

The Tenement Museum also tried to create more of a virtual footprint with “Experience the Museum at Home” on their website.

“For the past several months we have focused on pivoting our visitor model to digital platforms, developing alternative revenue streams, and growing philanthropy with the goal of ensuring the institution’s long-term survival and retaining as many full-time staff members as possible,” museum President Morris Vogel said in a press release.

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.

Recent Stories

Shepard Fairey’s Blondie on the Bowery is Defaced

Debbie has been defaced. The large-scale mural of Debbie Harry – painted by Shepard Fairey in August 2017 – is now compromised. Taggers recently targeted the image of the Blondie front woman, which sits across the Bowery from the former home of CBGB. The Little Italy Street Art Project commissioned Shepard Fairey for the job […]

Coronavirus Fells Fat Radish on Orchard Street

The Fat Radish is done for. Another victim of the pandemic. Eater broke the news Friday evening, reporting that the decision from ownership came as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. The owners – Phil Winser and Natalie Freihon – confirmed that the Orchard Street restaurant doesn’t have enough space to accommodate outdoor dining. And […]

Bluestockings Bookstore Announces New Suffolk Street Location

That was quick. Forced from its longtime Allen Street shop – due to coronavirus troubles and purported rent hikes – Bluestockings is ready for the next chapter. And it remains on the Lower East Side. The so-called feminist bookstore found a larger space on Suffolk Street just a few blocks southeast. It’ll take the store previously occupied […]

Catholic Charities Hosting Pop-up Pantry in Alphabet City Today

This morning, Catholic Charities of New York, along with Tuscan Farms, is hosting another pop up food pantry – this time in Alphabet City. They plan on distributing 500 bags of food and 500 gallons of whole milk to support those struggling in the neighborhood. This is a part of their larger mission to assist […]

Fridays Under $40: Three Meals in Chinatown

On Monday, when The New York Times reported on Chinatown’s outdoor dining scene, it was the first time I was happy to be scooped. The more we talk about Chinatown, the better. I live on Mulberry, just north of Canal and I’ve noticed it’s been slow to reopen compared to neighboring Little Italy and Noho […]