“Still digesting this:” Milwaukee Public Museum employees express frustration over slated layoffs

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MILWAUKEE -- About 15 employees at the Milwaukee Public Museum learned Tuesday, March 7th, their jobs were being cut. They say they are devastated and want answers.

Milwaukee Public Museum

They are the iconic exhibits inside the Milwaukee Public Museum. A walk through the "Streets of Old Milwaukee" takes visitors on a journey back in time.

For those who help create the exhibits, it's the future they're now focused on.

"Like everybody else, we're still digesting this," said Wendy Christensen, taxidermist and exhibit artist.

Wendy Christensen

Wendy Christensen has worked as a taxidermist and artist at the museum for more than 34 years. Tuesday, she learned that will end in a couple of weeks.

"My heart will always be here," said Christensen.

She's not alone. A total of 15 employees have been laid off. The exhibits department is taking one of the toughest hits.

"I'm just going to take it a day at a time," said Rick Regazzi, exhibits graphic designer.

Milwaukee Public Museum

Rick Regazzi has been a graphic designer in the department for 32 years.

"I think you'll start to see a deterioration over time of the exhibits falling into disrepair, getting dusty and that sort of thing," said Regazzi.

Rick Regazzi

On Tuesday, the president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, told FOX6 while attendance, fundraising and membership are all up, the restructuring is necessary for future growth.

"We reduced by roughly ten percent and then we'll be adding some positions coming in over the next year in those investment areas we need to take care of," said Milwaukee Public Museum President and CEO, Dennis Kois.

Dennis Kois

Despite the cuts, the employees are hopeful their jobs can be saved so they can continue to live out their passion.

"My hope is the museum survives and thrives," said Christensen.

We are told the cuts are a mix of union and non-union employees. Those laid off are asking the county board to look into the layoffs and ask questions. They are hoping it will be discussed in a future county board meeting.