Fiscal Year 2011 was a momentous year for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with the opening of the new Art of the Americas Wing and the very popular “Dale Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass.” Both resulted in strong attendance and membership during the year. Overall, attendance exceeded 1.2 million, a 37% increase over the prior year.
The economy as a whole has had a tepid performance, and thus we are especially pleased with our financial results. Across all business segments the Museum generated an operating surplus of $2.6 million. By individual segments, the Museum achieved a surplus of $2.1 million; Retail a surplus of $398,000; and SMFA a surplus of $138,000.
The financial markets had a strong year, resulting in a substantial increase in the endowment. The value of the Museum’s endowment increased from $450 million, as of July 1, 2010, to $548 million as of June 30, 2011, with an overall estimated performance return of 22%. Preliminary benchmarking places this performance return in the top 20% of endowment returns as reported by Cambridge Associates.
We will continue to monitor our financial performance given the financial market’s volatility, and the uncertain overall economic environment, to ensure our financial stability going forward.
During the late spring, Moody’s reaffirmed our Aa2 rating with a stable outlook, after an extensive ratings review. This is no small achievement considering the cautious ratings environment.
We look forward to the positive impact the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art will have on the life of the Museum with new beautifully appointed galleries, new education spaces, renovated retail store, and updates to Bravo Restaurant.
In closing, I would like to thank CFO Mark Kerwin, his staff, and the members of the Budget and Finance Committee for their efforts and time.
Treasurer and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee