$6B museum broke – Endowment gone

One of the world’s top art collections is out of money and fighting to survive, The New York Times reported Sept. 17.

The Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa., with a collection of more than 2,000 pieces worth more than $6 billion, has spent its $10 million endowment and is trying to raise $85 million.

Kimberly Camp, the foundation’s executive director, attributes the financial crisis to rising operating costs, past court fights that drained the endowment, deficit-building limits on ticket prices and public access, and some unintended restrictions imposed by the Dr. Albert C. Barnes, the foundation’s creator, who died in 1951.

Through a series of court decisions, the Barnes, which was founded in 1922, grew into one of the most restrictive museums in the U.S., the Times said, with public access limited to three days and 1,200 visitors a week, and ticket prices fixed at $5.

A global tour of 81 works in the mid-90s raised $17 million. But because Barnes’ restrictions bar the use of the money to pay for operations.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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