Skip to main content
Publish date:

Coronavirus: Minnesota Historical Society lays off 176 staff, Minnesota Orchestra takes pay cuts

MNHS to reopen Split Rock, Jeffers Petroglyphs.

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is laying off 176 staff, while the Minnesota Orchestra's full-time staff is taking pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

MNHS announced the decision Wednesday, adding that it will also recall 64 furloughed staff in order to support the reopening of the Split Rock Lighthouse and Jeffers Petroglyphs.

It will further extend the furloughs for 139 staff and lay off 176 more. The staff who have been laid off are primarily those who work at MNHS historical sites and museums that remain closed, the society said. 

"These actions will address strains on the MNHS operating budget as a result of ongoing closures. Critical staff will continue to ensure the security of historic sites and resources," the release notes.

MNHS will reopen the Split Rock Lighthouse and Jeffers Petroglyphs on July 15, joining the Birch Coulee Battlefield, Traverse des Sioux and Marine Hill outdoor trails in the historical sites that are open in Minnesota. 

The decision to reopen Split Rock and Jeffers Petroglyphs, which are primarily outdoor experiences, comes as Gov. Tim Walz lifted restrictions on outdoor spaces and museums. 

MNHS has new protocols in place in hopes of minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as limiting the number of daily visitors at each site, with advance tickets available starting July 8. 

The historical society will make decisions about the remaining sites based on factors that include current state rules for reopening venues, requirements for cleaning, social distancing and limited capacity, as well as the cost to operate the site, the release said.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Minnesota Orchestra staff takes pay cuts

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Orchestra announced Wednesday that its musicians have volunteered to temporarily reduce their salaries by 20 percent. 

This comes as the Minnesota Orchestra works to contain costs during the pandemic. 

“Taking care of Orchestra employees as best we can is our priority in the pandemic, and we are grateful that the orchestra received funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program that allowed us to fully compensate full-time musician and staff employees for a period of time,” President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns said in a news release.

"As we implement cost containment strategies for the duration of the fiscal year, I am gratified by the leadership role that musicians played in coming forward to contribute to the effort. These are trying times and difficult measures, and our colleagues in the Orchestra and on staff have responded with great understanding and support.”

These salary reductions, which are tiered throughout the organization, will begin at the end of the month and continue through the end of the fiscal year. They impact all full-time employees, with Burns and Music Director Osmo Vänskä taking a 30 percent reduction, musicians and administrative leadership taking a 20 percent reduction, and all other full-time staff taking reductions "at a lower level."

Meanwhile, 194 part-time events staff have been on hiatus since the orchestra stopped performing in mid-March. They'll only return to active schedules when the orchestra can resume performing concerts. 

Despite the salary reductions, Minnesota Orchestra At Home, which includes digital initiatives and at-home concerts launched by the orchestra to connect virtually with audiences, will continue.

Next Up

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Anthony Edwards

Ant's massive slam leads Timberwolves to fifth straight win

The dunk didn't count, but provided the highlight of the night.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

WIld arrive late, Cam Talbot stays on point to beat Devils

Despite a 30-minute delay, the Wild picked up a 3-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Update: Vikings say Griffen is out of his home, 'getting the care he needs'

After hours in his residence, the 33-year-old exited "without incident," the team said.

The search involved several local public safety agencies, including a State Patrol helicopter unit and a K9 team.

Woman, 22, dies in crash just outside Brainerd

Another woman was injured in the collision.

Related

Lindbergh

Minnesota Historical Society buys Charles Lindbergh goggles

Lindbergh, the first person to ever fly a solo transatlantic flight, has a complicated legacy.

hotel

Coronavirus: Mall of America hotel laying off nearly 100 workers

The Radisson Hotel Group earlier this month laid off workers from its downtown Minneapolis hotel.

Minnesota Zoo

Facing coronavirus challenges, MN Zoo lays off dozens of workers

Overall, 125 positions will be impacted in some way.

Historic Fort Snelling

MN Historical Society facing deep budget cuts over Fort Snelling signs

Some Senate Republicans are calling the new signage "revisionist history."

Minnesota Orchestra

MN Orchestra to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, masks

The new safety protocols for the season go in effect in September.

Guthrie theater

Coronavirus: Guthrie Theater lays off more than 200 employees

The Guthrie's largest source of income is ticket sales. It hasn't had a performance since March.

Historic Fort Snelling

Minnesota Historical Society keeps its funding after Fort Snelling row

The society had been threatened with funding cuts after changing the Fort Snelling sign.