In the Red Periods

Met Operating Deficit Hits Record Low

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art is suffering, as it did enormously in this past fiscal year, one can only imagine how difficult money matters have been for the rest of the art world. New York’s best-attended museum lost 250 employees, or 14 percent of its staff, investments declined by more than $600 million, or 24 percent, and donor gifts dropped 46 percent to $43.1 million, according to the Met’s 2008-2009 annual report, now posted on its website. The operating deficit widened to $8.4 million from $1.9 million in the previous year, which a spokesman says is the lowest it's been in the museum’s 140-year history. The Met “never expected to find itself facing the unprecedented challenges that were brought on by the recent global financial crisis,” wrote President Emily K. Rafferty and Director Thomas P. Campbell in the report.