Field Museum slashes budget by $5 million

Dec. 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History officials said they would make $5 million in staff cuts and limit research breadth of in order to stay open.

Museum officials said Tuesday the museum's operations system would also be overhauled, as the institution has suffered from the recession and a high debt load, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Museum officials said the hours of operation and the special exhibits' admission price could be changed. Curators and scientists would be targeted for staff reductions, as support staff reductions had already taken a hit.

The museum has supported the dual missions of entertaining and educating approximately 1 million visitors each year and acting as an international research institution, the Tribune said.

But the missions have become difficult to support due to the economic downturn, the newspaper said.

John Rowe, chairman of the museum's board of trustees, said, "This may turn out to involve shrinking certain areas of inquiry."

The plan announced Tuesday follows an earlier $5 million cost-cutting measure that mostly involved staff cuts.

Former University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, who took over in October as the Field Museum's president and chief executive officer, said he plans to use the attrition measures as a springboard to revise the museum's mission.

"If we wrestle these issues to the ground successfully, our future is rosy," he said.

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