MSA FORWARD Let’s Talk Museum Store Sunday!

April 2, 2018

Are you ready for the next Museum Store Sunday?

Whether or not you were one of the 700 institutions participating in last year’s inaugural Museum Store Sunday (MSS); you won’t want to miss Let’s Talk Museum Store Sunday at MSA FORWARD 2018. This general session on Monday, April 30, 8-9 a.m. will be led by a panel of experts who were instrumental in making MSS 2017 a local, national and global success in year one. In addition to discussing new opportunities for MSS 2018 and answering your questions** we’ll recap the following:

  • MSS website
  • MSS Marketing Strategies
  • MSS Social Media Campaign
  • MSS Events & Promotions
  • MSS 2017 Participant Survey

In case you are new to MSA or just need a refresher about the Museum Store Sunday initiative, let me share the MSS back story. MSS was born from discussions among the MSA Board of Directors during strategic planning work in the summer of 2016. From those sessions and feedback from the museum store community, the MSA set forth on a long-range strategy to communicate to the world and general public, the value and importance of non-profit retail with its curated products and unique experiences.

Thus, the idea was borne to put the spotlight on museum stores through a dedicated day—Museum Store Sunday—to be claimed by MSA during the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend. The process began with the official announcement of Museum Store Sunday at last year’s MSA Forward in Pittsburgh, April 2017. An MSA Advocacy Committee was formed with the single goal of launching Museum Store Sunday by November. We reached out to our peer associations in the United Kingdom (ACE) and Australia and New Zealand (MSAANZ) and they quickly embraced Museum Store Sunday.

A brand identity for Museum Store Sunday was created with its call to action to “Be A Patron” as the key message to consumers and the general public for MSS. The term “patron” has dual meaning – it can mean both a repeat shopper of a store and a benefactor of a cause. Museum Store Sunday embraces both of these meanings as patronage of a museum store applies to anyone who makes a purchase. Whether one purchases a pencil for $1, a $15 children’s toy, a $50 print, or a $500 sculpture, any and every purchase at a museum store is by a “patron.” The objective is to communicate to the world that when a consumer makes a purchase from a museum store, they are being a “patron” and giving back to the museum and community.

The first Museum Store Sunday took place on November 26, 2017 and spanned across the United States and abroad. There were almost 700 independently operated museum stores participating from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and from ten countries on three continents during this first year. The 700 participating museums included most all museum types: Aquarium, Arboretum/Botanic Garden, Art, Children’s, Culturally Specific, Historic House, Historic Site, History, Historical Society, Military/Battlefield, Nature Center, Natural History, Maritime/Marine, Presidential Library, Science/ Technology, Specialized, Transportation, Visitor Center, and Zoo.

Five hundred (72%) of the MSS participating museums were in the U.S., 120 museums (17%) in the U.K., and 53 museums (8%) in the remaining countries. Of the 500 museums in the U.S., 380 are MSA members (76%) and 120 non-members (24%). Participants did not need to be members of MSA to participate but only MSA members received access to the MSS toolkit for marketing templates, social media suggestions, and collateral available on the MSS website www.museumstoresunday.org.

The day wielded a wide variety of national and international press coverage, including an article in USA Today (“Museum Store Sunday fills shopping gap no one knew they had”) as well as substantial regional exposure from newspapers such as the Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Times, and Las Vegas Review-Journal. The event also benefited from the attention of multiple television and radio outlets throughout the country.

 Many participating museums enjoyed triple digit sales increases from day-over-day sales and reported their best Sunday ever during the Thanksgiving weekend. We know this opportunity for public awareness and advocacy for museum stores is significant and we anticipate Museum Store Sunday to only grow exponentially in successive years.

So, if you want to learn more about Museum Store Sunday and how best to maximize November 25, 2018, meet us at Let’s Talk Museum Store Sunday at MSA FORWARD 2018 in Washington, DC.

** We need your help – please send your MSS questions in advance so we can address them in this one hour session.  We also need your event photos from MSS 2017.  Please email both questions and photos to Studor@cummermusem.org no later than Monday, April 16, 2018.

Thank you!


(Image courtesy of Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens)

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