We recently had to make the difficult and upsetting decision to reduce our workforce. This move was taken only as a last resort to preserve our ability to reopen to the public when this crisis has passed.
Some have understood the move to mean that the Museum is permanently closing. Contrary to media reports, that conclusion is absolutely not the case. Be assured the business of the Museum continues. There is a corps of dedicated staff members who are making sure the institution’s collections – ashore and afloat – the campus, and its intellectual assets are preserved and maintained. They will ensure we will be in a position to reopen to the public as soon as the State of Connecticut issues us permission to do so and we are certain we can do so safely.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all in broad and unpredictable ways. Normally, at this time of year we would be putting the final touches on planning for Pirate Days, holding classes and workshops and hosting school programs all over the campus, preparing the Maritime Gallery for its spring show, opening up the Boathouse, and getting ready for our annual Members meeting. Obviously, that is not the situation we find ourselves in today and we are in the process of rescheduling exhibitions and programs to a later date.
On March 12, we made the difficult, but proactive, choice to close the Museum to the public through the end of the month. Staff were asked to work while observing social distancing and other recommended practices. Then, our Governor issued Executive Order 7H requiring that non-essential businesses close and that public stay home, now through at least the month of April. Faced with these facts and an even more uncertain future, we had to make the difficult decision to significantly reduce our level of staffing. As we are unable to open our doors to the public to generate revenue, we had to take action to preserve and maintain financial sustainability during this unprecedented period of economic turmoil. We have responded in the same manner as many other businesses in our region, and indeed our country.
In the meantime, we are leveraging our digital capabilities to bring the Museum to you via online classes for children and adults via Zoom, YouTube, and our social media channels. We just launched a new digital content hub where all of these pieces, new and old, will be gathered for you to find in one convenient place. You can find it at stories.mysticseaport.org/. It is free and open to anyone who wants to explore maritime history.
This is not the first time Mystic Seaport Museum has overcome adversity. We were founded 90 years ago at the onset of the Great Depression, and we have survived all of the trials and travails of American society since that time, such as World War II, the September 11 attacks, and the Great Recession. We are a resilient organization and we will emerge as strong as ever.
We need your help while we wait for the day we can open our gates and welcome visitors again. Please consider making an unrestricted gift to the Museum–the timing has never been more urgent! We are deeply appreciative of our community. Now we need your generous support so we can weather the COVID-19 Pandemic and reopen again. Together we can come through this challenge.
You can make your gift to support the mission of Mystic Seaport Museum online: