Tampa Bay museums have responded in various ways to the statewide shutdown of the coronavirus and its subsequent reopening. As we reported last weekAlthough museums are included in the first phase of Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to reopen Florida, many local museums are still closed.
But some have made plans to open their doors. On Thursday, the Imagine Museum and the St. Petersburg History Museum announced plans to reopen. The Dalí Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts have said they will remain closed. (The other museums contacted did not respond in time for the publication.)
Even in museums that choose to remain closed to the public for the time being, museum staff continue to work from home or in the museum. This includes security and maintenance employees, as well as archivists, registrars and curators, who can distance themselves while using museum resources.
Here’s an update on the local museum scene.
The Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg confirmed that it received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, but did not disclose the amount.
The 89 museum employees all kept their jobs.
“The main support for the Dali comes from visitors and has been significantly affected during the closure,” the museum said in an email.
The museum also said it was honoring Executive Director Hank Hine’s email statement from last week that his management team and board were working on new adjustment strategies and would announce a plan to reopen. , once they have “measured all the financial, health and staff implications.”
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
In an emailed statement, the museum said it also received an undisclosed PPP loan at the end of April, which will allow its 29 full-time employees to receive insurance and paychecks for eight weeks.
They put their part-time employees on leave on April 11. These employees had been paid for four weeks after the museum closed on March 13.
The museum said no reopening date has been set, but the team “are carefully preparing to open in the safest way possible for our visitors, volunteers and staff.”
The St. Petersburg Museum dedicated to the studio glass movement was founded by local philanthropist and entrepreneur Trish Duggan. In an email, Executive Director Jane Buckman said the museum aims to reopen with a smooth opening for its members on May 9 and to the public on May 16.
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Buckman said they did not apply for a P3 loan or any other grant. They were forced to put on leave 85 percent of their part-time staff, which was 11 employees. They will bring them back as needed when they reopen. They laid off 33 percent of the full-time staff, or five employees whose jobs were “determined to be non-essential to our new operating reality.”
These new operations will now be limited to 10 essential full-time and two part-time personnel. They plan to rehire their museum associates as ticket sales permit.
Buckman said some of the steps they have taken to reopen include reduced hours, scheduled sanitary cleanings, entry scheduled to not exceed 40 people per hour in the 34,000 square foot space, floor tags for encourage social distancing, hand sanitizing posts and security screens at all registers. They have also developed specialized circuits limited to six people.
“Our belief is that this will be our new standard for a while,” Buckman said. “Art is a necessary commodity to allow reflection and peace. We hope that our museum and the beauty of our collection will bring some relief to those in need of encouragement and inspiration.
The Ringling Museum
The Ringling is the Florida State Art Museum administered by Florida State University. He said he did not get a PPP loan.
They said they maintained all full-time employees, including grounds, facilities and security guards who continued to work on site. The Ringlings plan to make a decision on the reopening by the end of next week.
St. Petersburg History Museum
Before even having to close, the museum had been obscured by the construction of the St. Petersburg Pier, so they planned to operate at a loss, said executive director Rui Farias. But they applied for a P3 loan and recently learned that they would receive enough money to cover the payroll of 10 full-time employees for eight weeks. They did not have to lay off or put employees on leave.
Farias said they aim to reopen later this month, but are implementing major changes, including redesigning the toilets with motion-sensing faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers; a contactless payment system; hand disinfection stations; automatic doors; and trail signs to ensure a distance of 6 feet.
Farias also said he needed to change the layout of the museum, to provide enough space between exhibits and to accommodate the time people spend reading information boards.
“I think it will change the way people see building museum exhibits,” he said.
The Tampa Bay weather and its related companies received an $ 8.5 million PPP loan in April.
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