Coronavirus, layoffs spark Museum of Tolerance rumor. It is closing, but not forever

Deborah Vankin
The Museum of Tolerance in West Los Angeles.  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Amid the rash of museum closures in efforts to contain the coronavirus, a rumor swirled Friday that the Museum of Tolerance in West L.A. was shutting down for good and laying off all of its staff.

"It's totally absurd, complete rumor,” said Michele Alkin, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance's director of global communications. “We’ve never been busier.”

The museum is, however, closing temporarily due to coronavirus concerns until March 31. With no visitors, the Museum of Tolerance has laid off all part-time tour guides and two full-time ticket booth attendants.

“They're temporary layoffs. We’re hoping they’ll be back,” Alkin said. “This is our busiest time of the year — the number of school groups coming through the museum has been enormous. We’re hoping to open as soon as it’s safe for our staff and visitors and volunteers, which is our biggest concern.”