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COVID-19 Impacts Cincinnati Museum Center

Crowd capacity, timed tickets and cleaning protocols in place for guest safety

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center today shared the disappointing news of significant position eliminations and salary reductions with staff. The reduction in workforce and salary cuts is a result of the profound financial implications of the COVID-19 related closure and future reduced capacity.

“This is a devastating moment for our teams,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We’ve had incredible momentum and engagement with the community following the restoration of Union Terminal. COVID-19 has forced us to make excruciating decisions for the future survival of our mission. It is heartbreaking to part ways with so many people who have dedicated their passion to our organization, building it into an award-winning museum whose legacy stretches back over 200 years. Our departing colleagues will always be part of the heart and soul of Cincinnati Museum Center and are celebrated for their incredible impact on our community.”

When the COVID-19 closure began March 14, CMC furloughed all part-time hourly staff. Through relief funds from donors and the federal Paycheck Protection Program, CMC was able to retain full salaries and benefits for all full-time staff through July 1. CMC will finish fiscal year 2020 with a loss of $3.5M in earned revenue and projects a loss of $8M in earned revenue for fiscal year 2021 due to reduced operating capacity. In light of such projections, CMC is making $4M in staffing reductions (a 40% cut in staffing costs) along with myriad cost-cutting measures. This includes position eliminations of 50 full-time staff and 125 part-time staff who were previously furloughed. Salary reductions ranging from 5-20% impacted an additional 52 exempt staff. Additionally, senior leadership took a 40% reduction in compensation and related benefits. These changes will be effective July 1.

While CMC awaits guidance from the State and local health officials, we are preparing for the possibility of a mid-July reopening of portions of the museum experience. CMC has taken extensive measures to ensure guest, volunteer and staff safety upon reopening, meaning your next visit may be a little different, but the impact of the experience will not be diminished.

Among the steps CMC is taking to keep its guests, volunteers and staff safe is instituting timed tickets for both general museum admission to the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Cincinnati History Museum and our current featured exhibition Maya: The Exhibition. Timed tickets will help manage the number of people in each experience, ensuring proper social distancing of six feet or more. Given the high touch nature of certain exhibits, some areas will be offline upon reopening. CMC is working on adapting many interactive elements for guests’ personal mobile devices.

Extensive cleaning protocols will ensure the building is clean and sanitized multiple times per day, including particular attention to high touchpoint areas like doors, elevators, handrails, countertops and restrooms. For the safety of guests, volunteers and colleagues, masks will be worn by CMC staff and volunteers at all times and CMC is asking all guests to please do the same. Additionally, CMC will provide signage and floor markings encouraging guests to abide by the six-foot social distancing recommended by health officials.

“We are doing our part to create a safe, clean environment for our guests, volunteers and staff and we’re asking everyone to please experience our museum responsibly,” says Pierce. “We need our community to help ensure our museum remains a safe space for everyone.”

CMC will share more details of its reopening plan over the next several weeks.


About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of a select few museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than 1.8 million visits annually. For more information, visit