The Henry Ford’s Patricia Mooradian on Reopening Greenfield Village and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19July 31, 2020
After a temporary 16-week closure, The Henry Ford is now welcoming back its members, friends, and fans to Greenfield Village this summer. Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford, spoke with Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah to outline what is being done to welcome back visitors safely, the timeline for reopening its attractions, and how it is preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Running at a Deficit
Back in March, just days before mandated closures were announced, The Henry Ford temporarily closed its doors. Immediate adjustments were made in hopes of combating the financial implications of COVID-19, including the furlough of 80% of their workforce, pay cuts for executive and senior leadership teams, and the halt of all major projects.
Even with major cuts, the independent nonprofit is facing serious financial challenges. Nearly 65% of the museum’s operating budget is earned revenue from membership and ticket sales, food and retail purchases, and private events.
“At the end of the year, we expect to have our first deficit in over the twenty years that I’ve been here, $10 to $20 million,” said Mooradian. “We’re a 501c3, we’re not connected to Ford Motor Company in a formal way, we don’t get state funding or federal funding…we have had to earn our revenue to keep ourselves operating.”
Reactivating The Henry Ford
Following their 16-week closure, the museum is officially back open and calling on all stakeholders to help the institution get back on its feet and continue its mission.
“We did not qualify because of our size for any of the PPP funding, so what we do to make up the deficit is going to be through our donations, and through people visiting, and coming back and helping us reactivate,” said Mooradian.
With the re-opening, comes new safety protocols:
- Limited daily visitation and visitor numbers.
- Online ticket sales and member reservations.
- Mask requirements and social distancing guidelines.
For now, The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village are operating at 25% capacity as visitor demand and patterns are assessed.
Engagement and Learning
Even through the pandemic, the museum has remained dedicated to providing unique educational experiences. As schools across the country shut down, the museum’s team worked to make educational resources and curriculums available online, not only for teachers, but also for parents.
“There are a lot of lessons to learn from this pandemic and from this closure, and we are learning those lessons and thinking about what we’ve learned, and how that can help us reshape what kind of institution we are for engaging and learning across the globe,” said Mooradian.