The Museum of Science Reduced Its Staff by Seven Percent

A mix of layoffs and forced retirement have hit the city's science museum.

Photo by Margaret Burdge

The Museum of Science’s 400+ staff is officially shrinking.

As first reported by the Boston Business Journal, the museum laid off eight full time employees Tuesday after 21 others who were at or near retirement age accepted voluntary retirement packages over the past few weeks, reducing the total staff count by about 7 percent. The museum did not reveal which positions had been eliminated.

“The Museum routinely evaluates its operating budget and makes adjustments to maintain our long history of balanced budgets,” the museum said in a statement to Boston. “These measures have positioned the Museum for long-term fiscal health to continue to deliver on our mission to the nearly 1.5 million yearly guests here in Boston and 2 million people engaged in our exhibits, programs and curricula around the world.”

It seems that the museum is in the throes of an organizational shake-up. Leadership are still searching for a new president in the wake of longtime head Ioannis Miaoulis’s departure, and a spokesperson for the museum told the Boston Business Journal that the reduction in staff is intended to “improve efficiencies and right-size the organization to ensure long-term financial stability.”

The Museum of Science is the second largest museum in Massachusetts, according to the most recent attendance data, and is also among the most expensive for patrons, with a $29 price tag on a base level, one-day ticket. The museum operates on approximately a $60 million budget.

The museum has a 189-year history and an expansive collection, with permanent exhibits on topics from fossils to nanotechnology. The facility, which spans the Charles on the Boston/Cambridge line, also boasts a planetarium, a five-story IMAX, and the world’s largest Van de Graaff lightning generator. Just earlier this week, the museum announced expanded support for its STEM Access Fund from National Grid.