Arts & Culture News

Perot Museum Announces Layoffs of 168 Employees

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science relies on curious school kids to keep going.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science relies on curious school kids to keep going. Shutterstock
Local kids have looked forward to many a required field trip to the Perot Museum.

The massive six-story institution in downtown Dallas is a tourist mainstay with cutting-edge technology that allows visitors to feel the shaking grounds of an earthquake or try to outrun a dinosaur. But without those visiting schools, the museum is forced to lay off some 168 employees, the Perot said in a statement.

“While we deeply regret having to take this action," the museum said, "we believe it is the prudent and appropriate response to ensure our stability in the short term and resiliency over the longer term.”

The official statement, which was released on Wednesday, said 70% of the employees laid off are part-time employees.

“Additionally, more than one-third of the senior leadership team was eliminated.”

The museum said that the layoffs were the result of the pandemic shutdown, citing the examples of “school closures and the prohibition of group events and activities.”

The natural history and science museum employs a wide staff — including guides, educators and scientists — in a massive space that promotes education through high-tech interactive tools, life-size dinosaur replicas, and 11 permanent exhibitions like the dazzling Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall.

“While we deeply regret having to take this action... we believe it is the prudent and appropriate response to ensure our stability in the short term and resiliency over the longer term.” – The Perot Museum

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In addition, the Dallas institution regularly curates popular art exhibitions such as the Lego exhibition The Art of the Brick and the postponed upcoming Pixar exhibition.

The Perot told The Dallas Morning News, through a spokeswoman: “All employees — including those impacted by the reduction in force — have been paid and will continue to be paid in full through July 1. As always, we will remain adaptive and consider additional means of reducing expenses.”

As in most major cities, all cultural institutions that rely primarily on daily patronage through large gatherings are at risk of shuttering and suffering massive layoffs. There are many ways to help cultural institutions, even without making a donation. The Perot is offering virtual happy hours and other online programming, and is also accepting donations through its website.
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio