Nelson museum cuts hours, lighting

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s decision to close on Tuesdays is only one measure the museum has taken to save money.reduce operating costs.

In July, The museum cut back the lighting of the Bloch Building lenses by 14 hours per week.

In early August, it raised building temperatures from 70 to 72.5 degrees.

And on Sept. 1, it all but closed the new café in the Bloch Building, reducing its hours to just two a week.

Museum Spokesperson Spokesman Randy Attwood said the museum hopes to lower operating costs by 2 two percent in the current fiscal year, which ends April 30, 2009.

Attwood listed other cost-saving moves, including using compact fluorescent lighting, decreasing pump and fan speeds and setting the boilers differently to lower gas usage.

“The humidity level remains the same, because that is essential for protecting the art,” Attwood said.

The elimination of Tuesday public hours, which took effect in September and followed an eight-hour cutback earlier this year, is the most significant source of savings.

Although the museum remains open to school groups on Tuesdays, “Savings result because Rozzelle Court Restaurant is closed, and fewer security officers are needed,” Attwood said. Additionally, “if there is an area of the museum Museum that is not being used for Tuesday tours, then the lights go off.”

Considering the $200 million the Nelson spent on the Bloch Building and other elements of the recent expansion/renovation, some museum watchers may be surprised at all this attention to operating costs.

“Money raised for the Bloch Building went for the Bloch Building,” Attwood said. “Operating costs are covered through earned income, contributions (including memberships) and endowment.”

As the museum prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, it will announce new development initiatives, he said, including gifts dedicated to operating expenses.


  • The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • The Rozzelle Court Restaurant serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. Dinners is served from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays.
  • The Museum Café is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays for Cultural Cocktails, featuring a full bar and tapas selections.
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