(Ray Bouknight/Flickr)
(Ray Bouknight/Flickr)

San Francisco’s Exploratorium, which recently moved to spanking new digs at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, is laying off 18 percent of its staff because of low attendance.

The San Francisco Chronicle says that the acclaimed science museum will cut 80 of its 435 paid positions four months after moving to its waterfront location.

Museum officials say fewer people than anticipated have visited. Instead of the expected 6,000 to 7,000 daily visitors, actual attendance has been between 3,000 and 4,000, resulting in 20 percent less revenue than expected.

The Exploratorium’s new home cost $300 million and has more than 600 exhibits.

  • Colleen

    I’m curious to know if the expected number of visitors was an increase from the original location. In other words, has actual attendance dropped or is it level and they’re simply not experiencing the growth they expected from the new location? Could you find that out?

    • Anita H

      An article 4 years ago (found at http://sf.curbed.com/tags/exploratorium) said: “By scoring a golden spot between the siren calls of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium expects to increase yearly attendance from 600,000 to 800,000, while snagging three times more space to boot.” My math (800,000/year divided by 313 days – they’re only open 6 days a week) says that per those projections they were hoping to increase from 1916/day to 2555/day. Actual attendance of 3000-4000 a day is therefore HIGHER than projected.

  • Califash

    Another way of putting it is that their financial projections when assuming this new debt were too optimistic. In any event, it’s a shame. I’m sure we all hope they’ll climb out of this hole.

  • Franck Marchis

    Interesting to read this, since most of the people who came to visit us in San Francisco this summer have been complaining about the crowd in the museum. They mentioned to have to wait in line for viewing most of the part of the exhibit.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor