A report published in early October 2023 on working conditions in museums paints a dark portrait of the American art world. Museums Moving Forward (MMF) is based on a survey conducted in 2022 among 1,933 people. 54% of museums from all states participated. Among them, major museums like the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC or the Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco.
The figures reflect a tense climate. 60% of employees have already thought about leaving their position (burn-out, lack of prospects in terms of career development), while 74% of respondents among the lowest paid cannot cover their daily needs without an extra or other work.
The study also looks at the link between precariousness and identity. It correlated age, gender, cultural affiliations, work performed (part-time or full-time, status, seniority, etc.), the number of promotions obtained, frequent job changes and even situations of harassment. For example, a man works on average three years longer in a museum than a woman.
Museums Moving Forward was founded in 2020 by industry professionals. By highlighting inequalities through a survey, it aspires to improve the conditions of employees, by challenging managers, professionals and visitors. The organization also emphasizes that philanthropists should favor investments in favor of employees rather than for prestigious cultural projects. It announces an update of its report every two years.