MSA STORE OF THE MONTH

Please join the Museum Store Association in congratulating the winners of the MSA STORE OF THE MONTH. We had six worthy winners in our inaugural year, all of which were entered for STORE OF THE YEAR, announced at MSA FORWARD 2019.  We are pleased to announce that the inaugural STORE OF THE YEAR is Waite & Peirce Authentic and Exotic Goods.

To nominate your store, please click the link below to access the nomination form.

Winners of the July 2019, August 2019, September 2019, October 2019, November 2019, and December 2019 STORE OF THE MONTH will be entered for STORE OF THE YEAR — join us in Cleveland for MSA FORWARD 2020 to find out the winner!

March 2019 Winner

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Shop

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Shop, known as the VMFA Shop, extends the visitor experience by offering visually exciting window displays, wonderful product, and an open and spacious, modern feel. Visitors can enter from one of two entrances to discover a unique collection of curated paper products, jewellery, books, children’s items, home décor, and custom product all inspired by and reflective of the museum’s vast art collection. Visitors will encounter walls dedicated to regional craft artisans, Chihuly studio glass editions, and other product representative of the collection. With an extremely large and varied merchandise assortment and with price points from $1 to $8,000, there is something for everyone. The VMFA Shop also offers a dedicated exhibition shop for select exhibitions.

The VMFA Shop strives to include in its product offerings something that reflects every section of their extensive collection. The shop is constantly updating their product assortment, with buyers searching the globe for items that are unique and fabulous. Celebrating the rich talent of craft artisans who call Virginia their home, the team is especially proud of these regional offerings. They create custom items based on their own collection and for exhibitions, and their online presence, either through their own e-commerce site, on Facebook, or with dedicated customer emails, has continued to grow over the last three years. The VMFA Shop supports the mission of the institution to educate and enrich the lives of their visitors as they experience the shop and take a remembrance home with them. They are dedicated to exceptional customer service, are passionate about their visual merchandising, are focused on curating quality merchandise for their stores, and are ambassadors for their institution.

February 2019 Winner and STORE OF THE YEAR Winner

Waite and Peirce Authentic and Exotic Goods at Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Waite and Peirce Authentic and Exotic Goods at Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, MA, is a unique store concept inspired by the real story of Salem shippers and privateers, Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce, who conducted a merchant trade business at the wharf in Salem, MA. This immersive shopping experience interprets maritime history, international trade, and the relationship between the National Park Service and the local Salem community. The product assortment reflects the exotic goods that Waite & Peirce would have brought back to the historic wharf and ship repair building where the store is located.

The store features an exclusive line of Waite & Peirce apparel, jewelry, home goods, historical reproductions, collectibles, toys and gifts. In addition to traditional national park commemorative items, the store showcases handcrafted locally-made pieces. The store is beautifully merchandised to highlight the educational and historic themes that are interpreted by Eastern National staff. What makes this store special is that by reflecting the location’s history in maritime trade in their product assortment and designing an immersive shopping experience on the wharf, they have created a lifestyle brand that is connecting with local residents as well as appealing to national park tourists. The store’s tagline, Fortune Favors the Bold, tells it all!

January 2019 Winner

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s exhibition Serious Play: Design in Mid-century America is a great collaboration between serious design and delightful playfulness, which is echoed in the exhibition-related product and how it is presented in the store.  The first thing visitors see when exiting the exhibition is the eye-catching clock wall which mimics the one in the show, drawing them into the store space.  The simple fixtures and bright colors carry through the feeling of fun from the exhibition, creating an exciting environment that encourages hands-on fun and highlights the merchandise.

The buying staff worked closely with curatorial in selecting merchandise directly relating to the look and feel of the exhibition.  The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Serious Play exhibition store delights visitors by continuing the exhibition’s more whimsical side of great design.  The bright colors and distinctive clock wall draw guests in to explore, play, learn, and maybe even take home items they saw in the exhibition. From a $2 spinning top to a $700 Nelson clock, there’s something for everyone.  OnMilwaukee.com’s Bobby Tanzillo rated the store a show in itself, in his ranking of the top 5 reasons to see this show: https://onmilwaukee.com/ent/articles/mam-serious-play.html.

December 2018 Winner

American Saddlebred Museum

The American Saddlebred Museum (ASM) is known as the “Showplace for Saddlebreds” and the Museum’s Gift Shop reflects this motto with its wide array of equine-themed merchandise and products exclusive to the Saddlebred breed. The recently renovated store boasts a contemporary look which reflects the Saddlebred barn experience, and their wide array of merchandise includes clothing, accessories, books, home goods, children’s merchandise, and souvenirs.

The ASM Gift Shop reaches out to the Saddlebred community by having pop-up booths at local and national Saddlebred horse shows.  The Gift Shop’s annual Gift Catalog is mailed to 6,000+ customers and is distributed throughout the year at special events and other locations, helping to drive phone sales throughout the year. The Gift Shop utilizes an online sales platform to make sales easier for customers and leverages social media to increase sales.  The August 2018 issue of International Show Horse Magazine featured an article about the Gift Shop renovation and included a selection of exclusive items. This article helped to establish a relationship with the publication, and moving forward, highlights from the Gift Shop will be featured in each issue.

November 2018 Winner

Phoenix Art Museum

The team at the Phoenix Art Museum worked diligently on the research, product development, visual merchandising and sales in support of their fall exhibition, Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire. The result was a product assortment that reflects the institution’s mission as well as supporting the subjects and themes represented in the exhibition.  They worked with MSA vendor members on a thoughtfully curated product assortment to fit every price point and style and also worked with a local well-known artist team, the Fortoul Brothers, who has a large following.  Exhibition products are featured in their main window with a wide assortment of items, with more focused collections elsewhere in the store.  Children’s sizes of shirts are hung lower for ease of access to smaller hands.

The visual merchandising for the exhibition was done creatively while on a very limited budget – but still allowing for the seamless continuation of the exhibition experience through to the museum store. Creative use of various materials resulted in one of the best exhibition-centric windows the team has created.

October 2018 Winner

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

The Shops of George Washington’s Mount Vernon provide critical support to Mount Vernon.  Their mission is to educate customers on the history of George Washington and the Founding Fathers through their purchases of books and products that they find fun and appealing.  Mount Vernon receives more than 1.1 million international and domestic visitors each year.

Its broad customer demographic encompasses many children’s groups (almost 1/3 of visitation), seniors traveling on bus tours, local visitors looking for high-end gifts and reproductions and the thousands of individuals and families who travel to Mount Vernon each year. The Shops are exceptional in that they successfully offer a broad spectrum of products to suit all levels of taste, monetary constraints, product expectations and time available to shop. Mount Vernon is well aware that many customers only visit Mount Vernon once in their lifetime, and they want customers to be able to purchase mementos of their visit to George Washington’s beloved home that are educational, a good value and something they will cherish for years to come.