MSA is proud to officially announce that the MSA FORWARD 2021 Conference and Expo will be presented in a state-of-the-art virtual format this year!

Click here for the Exhibitors Prospectus

Registration opening soon - 

Featuring world-class programming, 2021’s virtual conference content is essential, elevated, and exclusive.  Forward-thinking leaders will speak on innovative topics designed around your needs  - with ideas and concepts that can be implemented immediately.  Participate in exciting and productive virtual networking events and an extensive virtual expo floor while connecting with peers from diverse backgrounds and expanding your professional network. 

Join hundreds of non-profit retail professionals and come face-to-virtual face with leaders in the non-profit retail industry.


- All MSA member institutions will be able to attend the two-day conference for FREE!

- Non-MSA member institutions/attendees can attend this year only for $95.  This will give those non-members access to educational courses as well as entrance into the virtual expo hall.  Also, that fee can be credited toward a new MSA membership for up to two months after the conference!

-  Over 13 educational sessions of free educational courses aimed at varying levels of store retail staff. 

-Two valuable deep-dive workshops: Retail Boot Camp aimed at beginner-to-intermediate staff and A Data Deep Dive aimed at intermediate-to-advanced level staff.

- Museum retail staff roundtables specific to your store size, where you can hear new ideas and share valuable insights with your peers.

- Shop amazing MSA Vendors for the best selection of targeted merchandise and product development opportunities.



And the award goes to...

Congratulations to the recipients of last year's MSA FORWARD Awards!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday, August 15, 2020 for Gavel to Gala, where we celebrated the vendors, volunteers, members, and colleagues that exemplify the best of MSA. Please see below for a list of honorees who received MSA Board Awards, Recognition Awards, and Buyer's Choice Awards. A hearty round of applause for all!


The MSA Board Awards are where MSA leadership recognize and thank those who have given so much time, effort, and expertise to advance MSA and the nonprofit retail industry.

"M" Award for Excellence
The "M" Award is  the highest award given by the MSA. To receive the “M” award, the recipient must have shown outstanding dedication and loyalty to the Association through his or her creativity, effectiveness, and spirit of volunteerism and support. This year the MSA Board has chosen two individuals deserving of this award.

Ione Saroyan, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library: Simply put, Ione has had our back. Well before the current challenges, the MSA has faced a number of hurdles over the past five years. Every time, there was Ione stepping forward – building consensus, offering solutions, and bringing in the best and brightest to help. Again and again Ione put forward all of her extraordinary resources: her time, her experience, her creativity, her leadership, and her heart. Her dedication and commitment to this organization continues to set an example for leadership.

David Graveen, Popcorn Custom Products: In describing this incredibly deserving recipient, you could say that he has a Generosity of Spirit – in all that he says, in all that he shares. This is a person who seems to begin each day by asking What can I do to help others? The list of examples of why David deserves the "M" Award could go on and on, but among his greatest contributions is one that is not as easy to quantify as other areas of his support – and that is David’s consistent ability to make us all smile with his humor and enthusiasm.

MSA Merit Award
The Board bestows the Merit Award only on those that have contributed to the significant improvement of the association. To be eligible for the award a recipient must be a current institution, vendor member, or corporate sponsor for five years or more; have volunteered at the annual meeting; served on a committee or task force; and been involved with MSA at the chapter level. This year the Board is recognizing three individuals who together have contributed so much to MSA.

Museum Store Sunday Co-Chairs:
Stuart Hata, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - de Young & Legion of Honor

Angela Colasanti, VIELA Jewelry
Laura Murphy, The Preservation Society of Newport County

MSA Service Award
The Board gives the MSA Service Award in recognition of outstanding service or a contribution to the association by a member or non-member.

Daedre Berryman, Studio Daedre

MSA Advocacy Award
This award is bestowed to any individual, institution, vendor or organization who has demonstrated sustained effort and accomplished significant progress in advocating for MSA and its mission.

Ari Lowenstein, Emergent Workshop


In 2018, we introduced the MSA Store of the Month Awards culminating in the MSA Store of the Year. This award is about advocacy and recognizes the unique qualities and individual characteristics of museum stores and the professionals who create them. The MSA Board determines the store of the year from the monthly winners.

Museum Store of the Year

National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library


The MSA Recognition Awards acknowledge the essential role that nonprofit retail professionals and museum store vendors play in the success of cultural institutions.

Museum Store Sunday: Best Event or Product by a Vendor

Popcorn Custom Products (with the Jewish Museum of NYC)
Live event with the political cartoonist from New Yorker Magazine resulting in the new “Cartoon Collective”

Museum Store Sunday: Best Special Event by an Institution

Calvert Marine Museum
Community awareness blitz

Best Pop-up Store or Special Event

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Designing Women Market, a day-long marketplace to showcase exceptional products by women makers, designers, and entrepreneurs

Best Product Development

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cloth ornament and History Makers

Best Visual Merchandising

Filoli Historic House & Garden
Make Our Garden Grow!

Best Marketing or Advertising

Lowell Observatory
Stargazing Reimagined, Giovale Open Deck Observatory

Vendor of the Year

Popcorn Custom Products
Museum Nerd Program, Cartoon Collective, Year-long support of all chapters


The Buyer’s Choice Awards recognize creativity and innovation in retail products among the exhibitors at MSA FORWARD, and this year, at our Virtual Gavel to Gala.

Best Books & Multimedia

Penguin Random House // Women Artists A to Z
Presented as an empowering and educational alphabet picture book about women artists, the diverse figures include well-known names and those that should be.

Best Custom Design

Soft Stuff Creations Inc. // Lorne Kotzer Dragon
This plush dragon was made exclusively for the Getty and is adapted from a manuscript in the Getty collection.

Best Eco-Friendly

Little Sun // Little Sun Original
This solar-powered light is the flagship product of a global project founded by world renowned artist Olaful Eliasson to address energy poverty in Africa.

Best Education & Games

Art & Smart Egg Ltd. // Modrian Blocks
This 4-color version contains 88 different challenges to create your own picture.

Best Fashion

Museum Reproductions // Tiffany Jewelry Drop Necklace
This dramatic drop necklace is designed from a Tiffany sketch book at the Morse Museum of Art, and produced here for the first time.

Best Paper Products

Quilling Card // Braille "I Love You"
The Braille Collection originated from a vision to connect deaf Quillers to the blind community through touch, a connection between the hand and the heart.


Gavel to Gala (2020-21 Board of Directors Installation and MSA FORWARD Awards) - August 15, 2020

Join us at 8 pm EST on Saturday, August 15 for a virtual celebration! We will welcome our new Board of Directors as they take on the task of forging ahead with the vision and mission of the MSA firmly in mind. We will also award accolades and acknowledge the hard work, successes, and dedication of our volunteers, members, and colleagues. We look forward to making time for some time for (genuinely) distanced socializing -- please bring your own celebratory beverages, and some creative festive attire if you wish! (Join us earlier at 7:30 pm EST for a brief business meeting on the MSA Financial data from 2019.)

If you haven't received the email invitation with Zoom registration link, please email



Important Message from the MSA Board of Directors - April 15, 2020

Thank you for your patience during the past month while the MSA Board, MSA Finance Committee and MSA staff team have worked to determine the future of MSA. For more information, click here.


COVID-19 Alert: MSA FORWARD Cancellation - March 23, 2020

Your MSA Board of Directors has voted to cancel MSA FORWARD 2020.

As you may know, restrictions on group gatherings by Ohio’s Governor and the CDC make it impossible for our in-person conference to proceed.

MSA is actively exploring new ways we can provide, virtually, the key components from MSA FORWARD 2020. We are still continually striving to provide valuable opportunities for our members to connect, learn, and do business. We hope by mid-April or earlier, we will have full clarity and a resolution in place and we will share all details with you.

This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are navigating it the best we can. Please be assured that we are working diligently to provide the best possible outcome for you. We ask that you afford us the time needed to make that possible.

In the end, the collective strength and unity of our MSA community will allow us to persevere. We are touched by the messages of support from so many of you.  We need to all support each other over the coming weeks and months.

Please send any questions about this cancellation directly to the MSA Staff Team: