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.
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.