Culture Grrl reports that long time Met critic Oscar White Muscarella has taken a recession driven voluntary retirement along with 95 other staffers. See: http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2009/06/whos_leaving_the_metropolitan.html
Muscarella's pointed critiques of his own institution's collecting practices have won him fans in the archaeological community and disdain in the museum community and amongst collectors. If Muscarella had been in private industry, he would have been sacked long ago. However, in the not-for-profit world of the Met, he managed to hang on for 44 years until budget woes forced him and many of his less outspoken colleagues into retirement.
One can only speculate whether Muscarella's brand of "in your face" activism helped harm the Met's bottom line and hence its ability to retain staff. Though the Met is well funded by not-for-profit standards, donations are never easy to come by and one wonders if collectors who no longer can freely donate artifacts to the museum due to its adoption of a 1970 provenance date will still want to donate cash for the upkeep of its collections.
In the meantime, as the Met and many other museums suffer, source countries like Egypt have turned to for-profit venues for "blockbuster" shows that have been criticised as being high on rank commercialism and short on scholarship. See: http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2009/06/displays-for-dollars.html
Is this another case of the law of unintended consequences at work? See also: http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2009/06/chinese-import-restrictions-have.html