CHICAGO (AP) -
Chicago’s renowned Field Museum, long a major center of global scientific
research, is offering early retirement to more than half its curators as
part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce debt and refocus the mission of one
of the city’s top cultural attractions.
history museum has offered the incentive - immediate retirement or a
phased-in retirement over two to three years - to 16 of 27 curators,
spokeswoman Nancy O’Shea said Thursday. Those eligible are 55 or older and
have at least 10 years on the job. The must decide by May 10 if they’ll
accept the offer, O’Shea said.
Museum, founded in 1893, is known for its research into plants and animals
and for its impressive collections, including Sue, the world’s largest and
best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex.
announced in December that they would try to cut costs by $5 million and
increase the museum’s endowment by $100 million by cutting staff,
overhauling operations and limiting the scope of its research.
have said they also might change hours of operation and raise admission
prices for special exhibits at one of the city’s best-known cultural
attractions. They also said the museum will focus more on its own
collections and be more selective in choosing outside exhibits that cost
more money to organize.
plan follows earlier attempts to trim $5 million, also primarily through
staff cuts. But rising bond debt and operating deficits during the past
decade have combined with flat revenues and dwindling government subsidies
to put a financial squeeze on the institution, officials have said.
O’Shea said the
museum already has reduced costs by $2 million on the science side, and the
retirement incentives could help the museum toward its goal of cutting
another $1 million in that area. The other $2 million in savings would come
from other areas, she said.
“We are trying
to tighten our belt and find ways to cut costs, and this is one of those
efforts,” she said.