The Speed Art Museum has eliminated eight full-time staff positions. The cuts were made in anticipation of the Speed’s $50 million renovation and expansion project, which will close the museum to the public until September 2015.
The affected positions are spread throughout the museum’s divisions and include jobs in visitor experience, collections, facilities, education, IT and security.
Museum director and CEO Charles Venable says some of the cuts were made in order to create new positions more closely aligned with the museum’s goals during its renovation period.
“We’re going to make a huge push to improve our web site and become as much of a virtual museum as possible for the future, and it’s a great time to do that when you’re closed,” says Venable. “But we don’t really have those types of skill sets on staff right now, so we’ll actually be posting new jobs over the next couple of months in order to make that transition and do more in this case with technology.”
Venable says the curatorial division will stay busy working on future exhibitions, conducting research for the collection and putting more of the collection online during construction. The membership and development staff will continue their work. The staff re-organization will also allow the institution to adapt its programming to include more outreach and collections lending during construction.
“Some of that stuff, which will really take flight more than we have in the past while we’re closed here at the main building, doesn’t mean we’re going to want to pull back on that when we re-open,” Venable says. “So it may very well be that we beef up with more staff than we had when we were closed.”
The total number of employees now working at the Speed is 85. 45 of those are full time employees, the rest are part-time. In addition to today’s cuts, 33 part-time positions, mostly in guest services and security—positions that have direct contact with museum visitors—are scheduled to be eliminated when the museum closes. The last day for the public to view art in the galleries is September 23.