Art World MoMA Asked All Staff to Return to Work on Site. But Some Feel They’re Being Forced to...

Many workers at the Met and the Brooklyn Museum can still work from home. At MoMA, you need a special medical or childcare exemption.

On August 27, three days after getting the green light from New York State, the Museum of Modern Art reopened to the public, with mandatory reservations, limited capacity, and new safety protocols in place. But museum staff has already been back for weeks: unlike many other art institutions across the city, MoMA required that all employees resume working on site in staggered shifts beginning July 6, the same day the city entered phase three of its reopening.

“The heart of the museum’s mission is being accessible to the public,” reads a message to staff on MoMA’s Returning to the Workplace webpage. “This requires us to reactivate our building, and be physically present to interact with our visitors, space, and collection.”

In order to keep working exclusively from home, staff members had to provide documentation demonstrating insurmountable childcare challenges or medical conditions that put them at an increased risk from the virus—and were required to reapply for these exemptions ahead of Labor Day.




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