Chicago's renowned Field Museum, a major center of global scientific research, has announced plans to cut staff scientists and curators, overhaul operations and limit its research scope because of a high debt load and the recent U.S. recession.
The natural history museum is known for impressive collections, including Sue, the world's largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex.
The cost-cutting measures will be an opportunity to refocus the mission of the museum, which was founded in 1893, officials said.
They hope to cut $5 million in costs and increase the museum's endowment by $100 million.
The museum will also focus more on its own collections and be more selective in choosing outside exhibits that cost more money to organize.
"If we wrestle these issues to the ground successfully, our future is rosy," the Field's president and CEO, Richard Lariviere, told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. Lariviere started work at the museum in October.
Lariviere said the museum has more $170 million in outstanding bonds. He called that "very high" compared with the institution's $300 million endowment. The bonds cost the Field more than $7 million a year, taking a bite out of an operating budget of less than $70 million.
"Our credit cards are maxed out," Lariviere told the Tribune.
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