Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Staff reduction spurs museum to change hours of operation

June 8, 2011

The Johnson County Museum has a case of the Mondays — and facility leaders hope that will be a good thing.

Starting this week, the museum, 6305 Lackman Road, is closed on Sundays but open on Mondays instead, adding three more hours of operation to its weekly schedule but eliminating the need for employees to come in on Sundays.

The change is hoped to improve both attendance and staffing efficiency, said museum director Mindi Love.

“Monday is a day where we have a lot of people come to the facility and find it closed,” she said.

A review of museum attendance showed that Fridays and Saturdays were the highest and that Sundays were the lowest, Love said. She said employees already work in the building on Mondays and that rearranging some operations, such as cleaning schedules, would allow them to open the doors.

Since many metropolitan-area museums and cultural facilities close on Mondays, Love said she hoped museum attendance would increase thanks to the change.

“It is a challenge to find some things to do on Monday that are low cost and free,” she said.

The schedule change trickled down from a one-person staff reduction, Love said.

An education staff position had been vacant since earlier this spring at the museum’s other facility, Lanesfield Historic Site, 18745 S. Dillie Road in Edgerton. The museum was facing budget reductions, attendance has been down at that site — mainly because of cuts to school field trip funding — and museum and Johnson County officials decided not to fill the position, Love said.

Eliminating the position will save about $51,000, Love said. The museum’s total annual budget, including grants and donations, is about $900,000.

Lanesfield will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with appointments available for groups.

The Johnson County Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Love said new hours at both sites will allow the museum to reallocate resources where they’re needed most.

While attendance at Lanesfield has declined in recent years, attendance at the Johnson County Museum has grown since 2008 — with year-to-date figures for 2011 up 13 percent since this time last year.

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