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Budget Deficit Forces Layoffs, Cost Cuts At National Museum of American Jewish History

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The National Museum of American Jewish History, which opened with great fanfare in 2010 at 5th and Market Streets, is laying off workers and cutting its hours because of a $1.8 million budget deficit.

Museum CEO and director Ivy Barsky says in order to cut operating expenditures, it's eliminating 18 of 50 full-time staff positions.

"We've had to make some really difficult decisions," Barsky said, "but it's in order to sustain a bright future for the museum."

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The Museum will also be closing on Tuesdays, in addition to Mondays.

Andrew Lovell, associate director of industry relations at Temple's School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, anticipates more creative sales and marketing approaches to attract guests and members.

"In terms of building new partnerships, looking for unique and interesting ticket packages, and getting more active online," he said.

Lovell says the Jewish Museum should look to attract tour and travel groups and meeting planners, even during off-hours.

"Maybe focusing on evening rentals, and what they could do to fill the building," he said.

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Barsky says they are "blessed with the most amazing location on the most historic square mile in the country," so they looking for any and all ways to generate revenue.

"We're rated number 8 on Trip Advisor for things to do in Philadelphia," Barsky said.

Annual attendance at the museum is about 105,000 visitors. It has about 6,000 members, with a high retention rate at more than 90%.

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