Thursday, December 18, 2008

Peabody Essex adopts new hours

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, has announced that beginning Jan. 1 it will now be closed on Mondays instead of being open every day.

It is unusual for museums to be open every day – locally Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Harvard Art Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge may be the only museums open every day year round. But the Peabody Essex's switch prompted questions of whether the new shorter hours might (1) reflect the Peabody Essex looking to reduce costs because of the effects of the international economic meltdown and/or (2) reflect a response to sluggish attendance at the museum.

Peabody Essex publicist April Swieconek writes:
“We need this change regardless of the economic climate, and have been contemplating it for some time. If the downturn had never occurred, we would still need the day for installations, maintenance, etc. That said, we are compelled like other museums to find ways to adapt to the economy. The timing is evident and the financial advantages are definitely a consideration for us.

"As far as attendance is concerned, there is actually no change overall. We are on target for the year, up slightly from last. Obviously, we looked at our attendance figures in choosing a day (and Monday was the winner). Monday is also happens to be the day most museums close, so for the sake of consistency...

"At this point, we have not made other changes due to the economy. We are constantly examining what we need to do to streamline operations expenses, especially now. I can tell you with certainty that we have absolutely no plans to make changes to our planned exhibitions and programs."


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