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Field Museum President: "Everything Is On The Table" In Rethinking Mission

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 19, 2012 4:40PM

Photo credit: Courtney Mowry

Faced with shrinking endowments and a $5 million shortfall in its budget, Field Museum president Richard Lariviere announced Wednesday the museum is drafting a plan to refocus its mission statement and position the Field to compete for visitors with other museums in the 21st century.

Lariviere told the Sun-Times “the iconic status of the museum is undeniable in the city,” but that the museum will leave no stone unturned in putting together its plan. Staff cuts are expected, but the extent of the plan may also include changes to the museum’s hours of operation, admission fees for special exhibits, and the extent of its behind-the-scenes research and relationships with universities. The Field has millions of specimens in storage, but the costs to maintain them are a large part of the museum’s budget.

“Everything is on the table,” Lariviere said. Field Museum board of trustees chairman John Rowe told the Tribune “shrinking certain areas of inquiry” is a part of the plan.

The Field expects the plan to be completed by July 1 and hopes to cut $5 million from its budget before launching a capital fundraising plan to add $100 million to the museum’s endowment.