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)


Seeking Your Unique Content for MSA Blogs!

June 5, 2017

By The MSA Membership Committee

MSA is always seeking relevant content for our weekly blog, and we hope you are interested in sharing your skills and experiences with the MSA community. All of the members of our community are trained professionals and experts in the field – and have interesting, personal, and relevant material to share with their peers. One of the defining characteristics of our Association is their unflagging willingness to assist each other — and a blog post offering info, suggestions, and practical steps is a way to spread that word across our community!

We also revamped the MSA blog to include a photo of the MSA blogger’s business and an image of the author to personalize the post. I hope you will all consider this as a way to shine at your own institutions and businesses; publishing your expertise in a blog for your association of 1,400+ members shows the knowledge and willingness to contribute that makes you an industry leader.

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3…2…1…Museum Store Sunday Launch!

May 22, 2017

by Susan Tudor

MSA believes the time is right to amplify the sharing of why museum stores matter. If you were in Pittsburgh for MSA Forward 2017 or read Executive Director, Jason Harbonic’s email announcement, you have heard about MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY (MSS). But are you still wondering what it is all about? I am super excited to share the latest information about this ongoing initiative launching November 26, 2017.

 MSS Background: Every year, consumers are encouraged to participate in shopping campaigns for Black Friday, (11/24/17), Shop Small Saturday (11/25/17), Cyber Monday (11/27/17) and Giving Tuesday (11/28/17). Consumers plan their holiday purchases to coordinate with these days, and participating retailers see a resulting patterned spike in sales. The Museum Store Association has developed a similar shopping campaign, sandwiched in the middle of these events called MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY.  MSA’s launch of the first Museum Store Sunday is scheduled for November 26, 2017 and will span this country and abroad. MSS participation is available to all nonprofit retailers whether MSA members or non-members. MSA members will receive special marketing information, event and publicity assistance. If you’re not an MSA member, join MSA today to take advantage of these members-only opportunities.

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Visual Display Tips for the Non-Artist in Each of Us

September 19, 2016

Shoppers are visual human beings. Their first impression in your stores is driven by sight. Familiarizing yourself and your staff with a few basic design principles is all you need in order to start making a better first impression. You do not need an art background or visual merchandising experience to improve your store visually. This last thought is what I wanted to explore.  My intern, Annelyse Juin, was my willing visual display student. Annelyse had no previous display experience and is currently an advertising major at the University of Florida. With just the following tips, she was able to create the sample displays used to illustrate this blog.
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You think you’re planning for the future – BUT…

Sept. 12, 2016

I oversaw deCordova’s museum store for many, many years – and then, a few years ago, I took over as the new Deputy Director for Operations. The Store (and other revenue and operational departments) are under my supervision – and I am incredibly fortunate to have very talented professionals at the helm of each division.

And then of course – change happens….

Many of us see our lives through the lens of work – but life itself contains so many uncontrollable elements that we cannot anticipate. I had a very stable staff in place for some time, and then I was faced with some large-ish gaps and shifting responsibilities. People move on, retire, move away…and the best and safest option is to plan for change. But do we??

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Insights on a New Museum Store as Part of a Major Museum Expansion

August 22, 2016

Is your institution considering a new store or store re-model? There are countless decisions that go into executing the design of a new museum store. Whether managing critical conversations with administrators and architects, or grasping the key issues and facts to consider when assessing a significant change in a store’s design and layout, careful planning is your key to success.

It has been almost a year since we completed a 50,000 foot new wing at the Columbus Museum of Art which includes our new 2,000 sq. ft. Museum Store. Below is a briefing on our process and some of the early results.

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Stachow_Museum Shop 2

Updating Job Descriptions for your Store Employees

August 15, 2016

We all have job descriptions but how often do you update them? Last month I was tasked with updating the job deceptions for the Museum Shop employees. They have not officially been updated since 2011. A lot has changed in the Museum since 2011 and our staffing is much smaller while our rolls have expanded. With that in mind, I am fascinated by larger museums that have buyers for different categories of the store, multiple managers, warehouse people and merchandisers. We have two categories of employees, a Museum Shop Associate (basically the assistant manager) and Museum Shop Sales Assistants. Our job descriptions have four sections; the position purpose, responsibilities, qualifications and working conditions.
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Michel_lobby store

By the Numbers

August 8, 2016

As museum store professionals, we are always concerned with the age-old question, how am I doing? While there are several ways to approach a real answer to that question, the purpose of this article is to discuss Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). The most recent edition of the Museum Store Association Retail Industry Report offers some great comparatives on many financial categories. This is a great place to start, as you determine exactly where you stand.
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Merchandise Themes for a Focused Museum Store

August 1, 2016

Museum Stores in the 21st Century reflect their times as assertively as they do their disciplines.   The dynamic ways your store can propel your institution’s energy and heritage in the marketplace will be evident in a finely focused merchandise assortment.  Supported by key factors including customer service, ambiance, merchandising and signage, your carefully curated merchandise selection contributes to making your store a unique, valued, and essential destination for partisans of your institution and beyond. An excellent way to focus your product assortment is to develop clear merchandise themes.
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Building and Defining a Retail Culture

July 25, 2016

Culture is intangible. It’s hard to define, it’s difficult to understand, and yet it shapes behavior and structure of an organization. The word “culture” comes from the Latin word “colere” which means to tend to the earth and grow, or cultivate and nurture. Everyone belongs to multiple cultures. You have a work culture, a culture you grew up in, a culture with friends, and with volunteer organizations. But have you ever thought about defining one for your retail operation? And why do you want to do such a thing? Because culture shapes behavior and because that behavior can be changed.
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