The Museum of the American Revolution has laid off five full-time employees from its education department and reconfigured the department to better meet the seasonal needs of schools and families, according to ZeeAnn Mason, the museum’s chief operating officer.
The layoffs, took effect last week, she said, and were not done for financial reasons.
“We really need a more flexible staff on the floor to respond to seasonality,” she said. “This is absolutely cost-neutral. This had nothing to do with economics.”
Mason added that layoffs resulting from “any restructuring” are “always difficult.”
There are about 40 part-time employees in the educational department engaged in activities on the museum floor: giving demonstrations to school groups, talking “in costume” to families, performing artifact demonstrations, and the like.
Mason said that the five laid-off full-time employees also worked on the floor, but that as school group attendance dried up in the summertime, there was not enough floor activity to keep them busy.
In May, she said, the museum hosted about 25,000 children in school groups, all taken through the galleries in groups of 15 to 20. But by September, that number will approach zero until it ramps up again in the new school year.
The use of full-time employees was decided before the museum opened in April 2017, and proved problematic. “Part-time is a much better model,” Mason said, “that allows for seasonality.”
The part-time education employees will now receive additional paid training and be eligible for salary increases, she said. They will, however, receive no benefits, such as health insurance.