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Peabody Essex Museum to lay off 38

Greg Cook reports the Salem museum tried to hold out as long as it could, but the Covid-19-related lack of visitors means the previous staffing levels were "no longer sustainable."




Wonderful museum!

Voting closed 29

That's sad, it is a great museum.

Voting closed 30

If the Gov and various other politcals don't get the message in a hurry and open up -- there will be very little of what makes Greater Boston" an attractive place left

PEM has a large endowment -- but it has the huge disadvantage of being in Salem -- but the decay of the cultural institutions will start to happen in Boston and Cambridge as well

As we now know -- the virus likes stuffy and breathy conditions

So: Make the inside -- look like the outside and then open the doors!

Ventilate [not the people -- the buildings]

Shine lots of UV-C

And if you really think it necessary keep on with the facial coverings indoors and civic [not social distancing]

Voting closed 16

UV in a museum is a disaster.

Voting closed 14

UV comes in many different "colors" -- ranging from the [virtual colors by mapping the UV spectrum onto the traditional visual light spectrum:

  1. Red-UV == the stuff just a bit beyond the Violet [approx 400 nm] -- which is much like violet visual light and some can see it [sort of]
  2. UV-A 400–315 nm [sun light -- suntan]
  3. UV-B 315–280 nm [sun light -- suntan / sunburn, Vitamin D production]
  4. UV-C 280–100 nm [germicidal and virus killer @260nm] -- blocked by the atmosphere so essentially none in sunlight
  5. Vacuum ultraviolet VUV 200–10 Strongly absorbed by atmospheric oxygen [some can penetrate through nitrogen] -- used for Semiconductor Lithography
  6. Deep Violet UV --- aka Extreme ultraviolet -- EUV 121–10nm -- stuff so strange that its close to very soft x-rays in its character -- only propagates in vacuum and by reflection -- ionizes atoms of essentially everything it hits

What is being proposed for COVID-19 disinfection of the air is UVC produced at relatively low intensity by banks of UV-C emitting LEDs

Note: for more on UV wavelengths and effects, etc. See Wikipedia Article

Name Abbreviation Wavelength(nm) Photon energy(eV, aJ) Notes/alternative names
Ultraviolet A UVA 400–315 3.10–3.94 (0.497–0.631) Long-wave, black light, not absorbed by the ozone layer: soft UV
Ultraviolet B UVB 315–280 3.94–4.43 (0.631–0.710) Medium-wave, mostly absorbed by the ozone layer: intermediate UV; Dorno [de] radiation
Ultraviolet C UVC 280–100 4.43–12.4 (0.710–1.987) Short-wave, germicidal, completely absorbed by the ozone layer and atmosphere: hard UV
Near ultraviolet NUV 400–300 3.10–4.13 (0.497–0.662)
Middle ultraviolet MUV 300–200 4.13–6.20 (0.662–0.993)
Far ultraviolet FUV 200–122 6.20–10.16 (0.993–1.628)
Hydrogen Lyman-alpha H Lyman-α 122–121 10.16–10.25 (1.628–1.642) Spectral line at 121.6 nm, 10.20 eV. Ionizing radiation at shorter wavelengths
Vacuum ultraviolet VUV 200–10 6.20–124 (0.993–19.867) Strongly absorbed by atmospheric oxygen, though 150–200 nm wavelengths can propagate through nitrogen
Extreme ultraviolet EUV 121–10 10.25–124 (1.642–19.867) Entirely ionizing radiation by some definitions; completely absorbed by the atmosphere

Voting closed 5

You can't just open up the windows or put stuff on the sidewalk. It defines stuffy and breathy (?) conditions. This like many others is and endless warren of indoor labyrinths with no windows and recycled air throughout. Its an art museum, not an indoor yard sale.

Btw, just say crap if you want to. Big boy pants.

Voting closed 5

There are some pretty important reasons for museums to want strict climate control. No art museum is going to just throw open all its doors and windows unless they don't want their collection to last very long.

Voting closed 72

I really would like to have Sarah Cooper voice this reply.

"Ventilate [not the people -- the buildings]" Anyone know her? : )

Voting closed 2

Who are these "other politcals"? Do you really think that things are shut down in
Massachusetts because of some cabal or "deep state"?

What is "civic distancing"? I could not find a reasonable definition even using Google.

Why do you think that being in Salem is a disadvantage? Much of the material in the museum relates to Salem and Essex County so it has more resonance here. It's also the only major museum in the area; in Boston, it would have to compete with the MFA, the Gardner, the Harvard museums and a great number of other attractions.

The logistics for not opening now have been well explained by Fungwah and Lisfnord. I'm glad to hear that the Gardner is looking into opening in July with advice from an epidemiologist from Brigham & Women. That balance between the need to open and the need to prevent further spread of the covid-19 is an example I hope that other institutions will follow.

Voting closed 18

I think museums should open up sooner, with low occupancy (25%?). Have everybody wear masks and put up plexiglass for the registers and information desks. Risk seems low to me as you aren't supposed to touch the art anyway, pretty easy to stay 6 feet apart, and just keep the restaurants inside closed.

Voting closed 17

Believe me, we are dying to open. We miss our visitors! But there is a HUGE amount of work to be done to make exhibit spaces safe for visitors and staff. Honestly, where I work, even if we wanted to open tomorrow, we couldn't. Given that we can only have a minimal staff working on the modifications that need to happen, it's going to take weeks for those modifications to be complete.

Also, not all museums are art museums where you don't touch stuff :)

Really....we miss you at least as much as you miss us.

Voting closed 50

I understand a place like a science museum where you are encouraged to touch will be harder to make safe. I am probably projecting my own loss here. The places I love the most in Boston are the BPL and MFA, so those are the places I want to see opened. (I know the BPL is opening for curbside pickup next week, but that is not the same as wondering through the Copley building).

Voting closed 11

I hadn't even considered the touch factor when it comes to museums, especially kid-centric ones like the Museum of Science and the Children's museum (as well as the aquarium). Will those places even be able to open before we get a vaccine? This is making me sad (and I don't have kids).

Voting closed 8

I trust that you know your craft better than I do but if we are talking a fairly straight forward museum experience (Childrens, Science etc being very different) I do not really understand how much has to be done. I think about stores and even restaurants being able to open and both of those offer very high touch environments. Then I think about a stereotypical museum with its high ceilings and spaced out displays and patrons that for the most part are capable of figuring out how to space out. That is why I have a hard time figuring out how some of the larger spaces are not able to open at a reduced occupancy.

Not giving you a hard time but just trying to wrap my head around it.

Voting closed 10

Trying to figure out ways for the public to walk through and then making sure that they don't lift the chains and cut through because they saw something they wanted to see first...keeping the public moving rather than lingering...converting bathrooms over to more automated systems...what do you do about people who need elevators?

Also, most museums are understaffed and that staff that exists is underpaid even if the site has a large endowment...so its putting a lot on people who are not working full time (and might be working at 2 to 3 different places (I've known people who have had 4 jobs in non-profits/side gigs at the same time) while ensuring that everything gets done.

Staff burnout is going to be a huge thing and with that, you lose a lot of institutional memory and knowledge.

Voting closed 12

Per an email sent this week to the "Gardner Museum Community":

In preparation, the Museum has consulted with Dr. Michael Klompas, lead hospital epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, who has been working with and educating us on COVID-19 and best practices for opening the Museum. I fully trust that we will find ways to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our community.

The stated target is "early to mid-July", with a date to be confirmed.

Voting closed 17