Jersey City Museum Woes Just Don’t Stop

by Paddy Johnson on February 3, 2011 · 1 comment Newswire

The Jersey City Museum

Good God times are tough for the Jersey City Museum. The Jersey City Independent reports the museum is having problems even paying its utility and web hosting bills. In December, the building’s power was cut off and their website simply read “Under Construction” reports the JCI. During that time the museum would have lacked basic security and alarm systems. The city’s responded as such:

“In light of the museum's financial problems, we need an assurance that the collection is being protected pursuant to the terms of the contract between the museum and the city,” corporation counsel Bill Matsikoudis wrote in a January 10 letter to Dineen. The city's top attorney then asked the board leader for a “full inventory/catalog” of the permanent collection, including information about where each piece was stored, as well as the museum's “most recent financial report, including outstanding debt.”

The Museum’s vice board chair James Kobak responded, saying it was “not reasonable” for the museum to provide an inventory or inspection. He then proceeded to blame the city for the institution’s current fiscal crisis. Jersey City eliminated the museum’s funding entirely this year in light of its own budget short fall. It also refused the museum’s request for a bridge loan similar to the 2.5 million extended to the Liberty Science Center in late 2008. While this has to do with the city’s own dire fiscal straits it doesn’t help that the museum has been unable to fully account for its financial problems.

According to trustee Ofelia Garcia, “Something very interesting is going to happen in late winter,” but it’s unclear what. As I mentioned before, I’m hoping for a wealthy benefactor, but that dream seems dim.

  • Ackessler

    The original sin of this museum was committing to a $12 million mortgage to begin with. They were doing some of their most interesting shows when they had a free space on the top floor of the Jersey City library. The same thing happened to the Pasadena Museum and almost to LA MoCA. These people lost touch with what their priorites should be.

    There’s no way, short of a wealth benefactor (yea, right) they would ever be able to deal with a nut that big. The city should turn the building into an arts incubator, one shared by the many arts groups in Jersey City that need space, and the museum should move to a cheaper space, perhaps one donated by one of the many financial institutions now occupying the waterfront.

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