Rocket museum lays off more than 100 employees due to coronavirus shutdown

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Alabama’s state-owned space museum has permanently cut more than a third of its workforce after being closed for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville has laid off more than 100 of its 280 full-time employees, news outlets reported. Most of its remaining workers also are on furlough, said spokesperson Pat Ammons.

The museum, which includes artifacts of the U.S. and international space programs, hopes to begin reopening next week since the state has loosened restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have no idea when we will be able to be back to normal operations, no guidelines or guidance on when we will be back to normal operations,” said Ammons.

The center’s popular Space Camp program, in which young people come to the center for days at a time, could resume partial operations next month.

Both the museum and Space Camp have been shut down since mid-March. The center drew more than 1 million visitors in 2019, and more than 44,000 people attended Space Camp.