Notices have already been posted on the Web sites of the Benton Museum of Art and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History to alert visitors to new hours that are the result of stringent budget cutbacks underway at the University of Connecticut.
In the case of the Connecticut Museum of Natural History, the new hours mean no weekend visitors.
As of March 30, the museum will be open only Wednesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition, the museum – along with the Benton Museum of Art – will be losing significant funding.
UConn issued a release this week announcing the cutbacks: “The cuts will lead to immediate savings of about $40,000 a year and are part of on-going efforts by the university to cope with a 3 percent rescission [in its budget] in this fiscal year and a projected $35 million shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1.”
Provost Peter Nicholls said he is also planning to cut the budget for the museums by $300,000 beginning in Fiscal Year 2011.
“We are working to trim costs wherever we can,” he said. “Coping with the budgetary environment will take efforts both large and small and some services will have to be curtailed.”
The cuts will result in a 50 percent reduction in hours at the William Benton Museum of Art and a 40 percent reduction at the Museum of Natural History. Both museums will now be open only three days a week.
Hours at UConn’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center also will be cut in half, so that it is open 20 hours a week.
Beginning next week, the Homer Babbidge Library will open an hour later, at 8:30 a.m.
These cuts are in addition to $7 million to be achieved in the next fiscal year recommended by the Costs, Operations and Revenue Efficiencies (CORE) Task Force appointed by UConn President Michael J. Hogan at the beginning of the school year.
The university is also looking at ways to up its revenue – such as increased summer school offerings, as well as cutting costs through energy conservation, staffing changes and reduced printing.
The task force is expected to come forth with more recommendations in June.
Posted March 28, 2009