Page 1 FALL 2013












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Fall 2013

Museum Store helps cultural commerce professionals operate more effectively, find sources of museum-quality products and contribute to the missions of their institutions.


Volume 41


Issue 3






Green, Recycled & Fair Trade Buyer’s Guide Browse our latest buyer’s guide for tips on merchandising this eco-chic category. BY APRIL MILLER














Bigger in Texas: The Store at LBJ Gets a Facelift Read how the store at the LBJ Library and Museum conquered all the challenges of its expansion and redesign.


Social Entrepreneurship: A Movement That Matches the Mission See how raising awareness and offering customers the opportunity to support artisans worldwide enriches the museum store shopping experience. BY MARGE D. HANSEN






Beyond the Grave: There’s Nothing Scary About History and Nature Find out how cemetery gift shops share their passion for nature and history with a fine balance of respect and humor. BY TRACI RYLANDS







Idea Gallery: Shelf Talkers Take a look at these beautiful and informative provenance cards from your peers that do a great job of conveying the story behind the product.



HOW TO CONTACT US E-MAIL: Please provide your full name, location and institution or company name. MAIL: Museum Store Association 3773 E Cherry Creek North Dr, Ste 755 Denver, CO 80209-3804 Phone: (303) 504-9223 Fax: (303) 504-9585 ADVERTISING: Mary Petillo: (503) 726-4984 maryp

8 34


President’s Message It’s a new day and a new MSA!


Executive Director’s Message Building a new association.


Knowledge Standards Q&A How can I develop relationships that will create a profitable store? BY LAURA MURPHY


Operations Innovative product development ideas from The Barnes Shop. BY ANDREW ANDONIADIS


Strategic Management Building your museum store’s reputation with online reviews. BY JOE DYSART


Operations What you need to know about ADA Title III regulations. BY TERESA L. JAKUBOWSKI

46 46

New Vendor Showcase

Museum Store magazine (ISSN 1040-6999) is published quarterly by the Museum Store Association. Postmaster: Send address changes to Museum Store Association 3773 E Cherry Creek North Dr, Ste 755 Denver, CO 80209-3804

© 2013 Museum Store Association Inc. All rights reserved. Except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, no part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from MSA. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Museum Store Association. Printed in the USA. MSA and Museum Store Association are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Cover Image:©Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Advertiser Index FALL 2013 | MUSEUM STORE


| president’s message |

Changes Are Coming IT’S A NEW DAY, AND A NEW MSA!

The core purpose of MSA is to advance the success of cultural commerce and of the professionals engaged in it. An international association, MSA is governed by an eight-member board of directors.


’m not sharing this headline as a way of soothing the attitude of long-time members who have come to expect the “same old, same old” from MSA. Nor am I saying it as a way of encouraging newer members to please hang around and renew their membership in MSA. I’m making the statement because your association is truly striking out on a new path. MSA hired a new CEO, Jama Rice, a few months back who is asking the organization to take risks; to “reinvent itself,” as she says. Because doing things the same as we’ve been doing them isn’t going to increase our membership, raise the awareness of our work in nonprofit retailing or enhance the association’s financial results. Jama has a vision for the future that aligns with MSA’s dreams and aspirations for which the membership has been asking. She led the staff in developing an operations plan for a different future. And the board approved that plan. We are going in a new direction, putting mixed results and past failures behind us. We’ll be making adjustments as implementation steps unfold, so I don’t know exactly what the future looks like, but it won’t look like what we have today. Here’s what I can promise you: Under this new leadership, the future MSA will be more transparent. There will be problem-solving instead of excuses. There will be attention paid to the importance of chapters and their connections to the members and affiliates where they work. The value of membership relative to price has gone under a spotlight, and as a result, your category of membership and membership dues may soon change. Over time, educational and informational content will improve for institution members and affiliates. And you’ll see new programs to develop and confirm your professional knowledge to your peers and colleagues. Change—it’s scary, but it’s MSA’s “new normal.” Share with us what’s working when you offer your complaints; our course corrections will build on those affirmations. Here’s where you come in. As many of you that have come to complain to me in my volunteer roles with MSA know, I will listen to anything you have to say as long as you say something nice about MSA first. You belong to MSA for a reason—you get some value out of belonging—so be part of this change. Go ahead and give me a call or email—tell me what doesn’t work and why it doesn’t work, but then tell me how to get it to work. And I’m going to be a lot more inclined to listen if you are helping with that solution by volunteering your time. During the meeting in July as we looked closely at the staff ’s operations plan, the board members identified several short-term projects that need members’ input and effort. Raise your hand and help by volunteering your expertise on these projects—I’m especially interested in talking with those who raise their hands who haven’t been involved in some volunteer capacity with MSA in the past.















I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. —Lily Tomlin




Stacey Stachow 4



| executive director’s message |


remarkable thing happened during the MSA Board meeting in Denver in July. A building visible across the way from the MSA offices was torn to the ground while at the same time the board members were having challenging conversations about the issues that MSA currently faces. The demolition of that building—outdated, with no options for retrofitting or upgrading and worn out from the many temporary fixes made to prolong its use—was dramatic in the dust it created and even more dramatic in the space it left behind. In that space there are plans to construct a new building— contemporary and relevant to today’s needs. Even more remarkable than watching that building come down is that the board, while meeting in July, did the very same thing. The board members agreed to tear down the same old way of doing things that MSA has practiced for many years, which has led to members’ unmet expectations and poor financial results for the association. You’re going to see some of the “new construction” in short order. A new “choose the membership features you want and pay accordingly” dues structure rolls out with renewals this fall. And, you’ve probably already heard that a new member can join and start accessing MSA programs and services any time of the year now—not just in January. The board members agreed to spend money on updating the MSA website, making it a bit more user friendly—to be done before the end of the year. They also agreed to have the staff begin the construction of a certificate learning program designed to encourage best practices in nonprofit retailing as well as a certification program—an objective, knowledge validation



process that can enhance the store staff’s position among their colleagues and peers. And while the Houston hotel and convention center were contracted more than a year ago, the board members handed the staff the tool belt needed to do a significant remodel within that space for the 2014 MSA Conference. The staff proposed some big plans while the board was here in July. While the board members made a few minor modifications to those plans, they gave the staff clear direction: build a new MSA. Risky? Yes, indeed. Especially following a trend of declining performance and fewer

financial reserves on which to fall back on. But, all board members and staff agreed— the old MSA is outdated and the easy fixes are no longer prolonging its usefulness. That old building—it’s been completely torn down. Across from the MSA offices is a lovely space waiting for something new and useful to be built in the opening left behind. I’ve heard rumor that the plans are already off the drawing board and construction starts soon.

Jama Rice, MBA, CAE

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7 . 0 B U S I N E S S R E L AT I O N S

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According to MSA’s Knowledge Standards, Business Relations is defined as the development of relationships that enable a successful and profitable cultural commerce enterprise. It is a huge role to participate in as a store manager or director. It is very strategic and requires awareness of institution policies, networking with other businesses or manufactuers and knowledge of techniques to develop outside partnerships. In today’s business environment, we need to source, develop and sustain business partners to improve our profitability outside the normal museum visitor. Here’s a look at what knowledge a nonprofit retail professional needs to succeed in Business Relations: • Network to gain knowledge. Networking with industry colleagues will help you gather information to grow your business. Building business strategies through this knowledge will improve your business practices. These relationships can be accessed by attending conferences and participating in online vehicles such as ShopTalk to share information. Maintaining contacts is very valuable. When we decided to improve our gross margin through overseas buying, we knew to reach out to vendors and other colleagues in both the museum and for-profit worlds to assist us in this venture. • Negotiate agreements that will benefit your institution. Understanding the parameters and basic terminology of contracts will result in strong legal agreements that reap full benefits for your institution. Carefully crafted licensing agreements that protect your museum yet create a revenue stream are invaluable. Using best practices to develop new business partners will create long-lasting relationships for your museum and generate new sources of revenue. • Source and sustain partnerships. We need to learn who is valuable to us. These relationships can be with other museum colleagues, vendors, consultants or manufacturers. Collaborative partnerships will provide methods and tools to grow your business, such as maintaining pricing, developing pre-order strategies to always have best sellers in stock and even warehousing product for you. All of these practices put more money to the bottom line. As nonprofit retail professionals we need to stay current in today’s retail environment, from licensing agreements to online stores and retail stores outside the museum. Staying current on cutting edge trends in the industry is what MSA can do for us. Our networking systems and educational opportunities will help us build our businesses and stay profitable in this ever-evolving global economy. Laura Murphy is the Educational Sales Manager at The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, R.I., and is on the Education Task Force, which developed MSA’s Knowledge Standards Program. For more information, visit

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How can I develop relationships that will create a profitable store now and in the future?



ost museum store managers know how to develop proprietary products using images associated with their institution including logos, architectural features, reproductions of artwork, elements of exhibits, quotes and many other aspects of the institution. These images are fairly easily applied to t-shirts, bags, postcards, note cards, magnets, umbrellas, hats, journals, mugs, scarves, ties and a host of other products that are all desired by visitors as a remembrance of their visit to the museum. When in Philadelphia earlier this year on the way to the American Alliance of Museums meeting, my wife and I had an illuminating conversation with Julie Steiner, the Retail Operations Manager of the Barnes Shop at The Barnes Foundation, that highlighted a different and more sophisticated approach to product development. Julie told me that the philosophy of the Barnes Shop comes directly from the


The Barnes Shop continues this theme of merging fine art with craft by focusing not only on reproductions of the notable art collection, but also on handmade, artisanal crafts. Visitors find decorative objects, fine contemporary crafts made by local, regional and national artists, objects such as ceramics, metalwork and fabric arts, and household goods that respond directly to the traditions set by the period pieces in the galleries. From a product develop- Ironwork “Staghorn Hinge” by Steven Bronstein and other items by Bronstein, ment perspective, Julie’s focus Hannah Simons, Kevin Harris, Greentree Home candles and Ashanti dolls. is on everyday items with an emphasis on line, color and form—forgoincludes many decorative elements in her ing, for example, traditional mugs with line of wooden kitchen tools that Barnes artwork printed on them in favor of a vavisitors will find familiar. riety of wheel-thrown, hand-glazed ceJulie’s hope is that the shop reinforces ramics by regional and national artists. the unique visitor experience the galleries at The product development process is less a The Barnes conveys, and continues the conreplication of works of art and more a colversations that the collection expresses. laboration with artists who use traditional From my perspective, although some traditional reproductions are available, the resulting product selection is exciting, inJulie’s hope is that the shop reinforces the unique visitor experience the galleries at novative and appealing. It may need some The Barnes conveys, and continues the conversations that the collection expresses. interpretation by staff and signage for visitors who don’t “get it” or are looking for founder’s collecting philosophy and his iddesign elements in their work. Sometimes more direct reproductions, but that can be iosyncratic way of displaying the artwork. these collaborations are direct, such as with an educational process itself and leads to a The Barnes Foundation includes wellthe hand-forged ironwork made by Steven distinctive and remarkable museum store known paintings, but also pottery, furniBronstein of Blackthorne Forge in direct experience. Oh, and the merchandising ture, metalwork, tapestries, tools, kitchen response to the metalwork in the collecisn’t bad either! utensils and many varieties of decorative tion, or with the velvet journals and albums Andrew Andoniadis is the principal in objects integrated together in what Dr. made by Adrienne Page, also inspired by the Andoniadis Retail Services, a consulting firm Barnes called “ensembles.” The ensembles, designs of the metalwork. Sometimes the that has specialized in revenue-generating Julie shared, are groupings of objects with connection is more organic, as in the case strategies for museum stores for 21 years. paintings that emphasize continuities in art of Julia Simons of Moonspoon Designs He can be reached at (503) 629-9279, forms between disparate traditions, mediwho studied art in the education or ums and periods in history. gram at The Barnes Foundation, and who





ART AND ARCHITECTURE IN MEXICO James Oles “A lucid—at times, even poetic— summary of five hundred years of Mexican art.” —Donna Pierce, Denver Art Museum 275 illus. | $26.95 paper ART/FASHION IN THE 21st CENTURY Mitchell Oakley Smith et al. An international survey of how the worlds of fashion and art have brilliantly collided in the new millennium 238 illus. | $60.00 ART STUDIO AMERICA Hossein Amirsadeghi & Maryam Eisler A window into the work spaces of some of the most prolific and current artists in the US, presented in large format with original photography 600+ illus. | $95.00 BRASSAÏ Sylvie Aubenas & Quentin Bajac A timeless collection of the famed photographer’s photos of Paris at night, including previously unpublished images 296 illus. | $85.00 MOMENTS THAT MADE THE MOVIES David Thomson A survey of key moments in movie history, lushly illustrated and compellingly written 250+ illus. | $39.95

NATURE MORTE Michael Petry Showcases contemporary artists working in a range of media who are finding new inspiration in the still-life tradition 400 illus. | $60.00

PAUL KLEE Matthew Gale A new retrospective survey that reveals the complexities of this popular artist best known for his playful and colorful aesthetic 200 illus. | $50.00

100 WORKS OF ART THAT WILL DEFINE OUR AGE Kelly Grovier Bold and engaging predictions of which artists and artworks from the past two decades will endure through their power to question, provoke, and inspire 242 illus. | $50.00

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: FORTUNA Lilian Tone A compelling survey of one of the most significant artists at work today, supplemented by a chronology that includes Kentridge’s work across all media 2,000+ illus. | $60.00

OSKAR FISCHINGER Cindy Keefer & Jaap Guldemond A richly illustrated monograph exploring the position of Fischinger’s abstract film language within the international avant-garde 200+ illus. | $39.95 paper

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hile museum stores have long been tracking the growing influence of online consumer reviews, a recent study from Opinion Research reveals the impact of these reviews has reached a tipping point. Specifically, the study found an eyeopening 83 percent of all online consumers responding said that the evaluations and reviews they find on the Web are now influencing who they do business with. Moreover, another 32 percent said they had personally posted feedback or a review on the Web after an experience with a product or service. “Businesses today exist in an era in which it’s nearly impossible to escape the likelihood of being evaluated—there’s nowhere to hide,” says Linda Shea, a Senior Vice President at Opinion Research, which also does national polling for CNN. “Even a single negative review, when posted in a very public forum, can have a significant impact on a prospective buyer’s decision.” Latha Thomas, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, agrees: “I do think that people tend to take word-of-


Genuosity sticks with a “positive only” approach to online reviews.



mouth reviews very seriously.” Interestingly, the bravest of the review site pioneers—including heavyweight online retailers Amazon, eMusic and eBay—embrace reviews on their sites that are both positive and negative. Essentially, these companies buy into the “brave new web theory” that a business demonstrating complete “transparency” on the Internet earns the greatest respect—and the most repeat business—by baring all. But other retailers are hedging their bets, convinced that by posting only glowing reviews, they’ll be able to look trendy while still bringing in more business. Yael Eytan, Director of Marketing and Communications at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Pa., says: “We do agree strongly that


Museums can use BlogSquirrel to monitor what’s being said about them on blogs.

organization, negative comments indicate a problem needing to be resolved.” Either way, if you’re looking to ride the promotional wave of the review frenzy that has seized the Web—a frenzy that could negatively impact your museum shop with just a few, well-placed, unflattering reviews—you may want to consider creating a review domain on your website. The advantage of having such a domain on site is that it can be overseen, guided and edited by a museum shop staff member. And

Eighty-three percent of all online consumers responding to a recent survey said that the evaluations and reviews they find on the Web are now influencing who they do business with. including all reviews, negative or positive, in a review space lends credibility. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t please everyone,’ so a review site with no negative reviews could appear to be doctored. It is very important to the museum that we maintain integrity in everything we do, and that includes our reviews.” Adds Henry Yau, Public Relations and Promotion Director at the Children’s Museum of Houston: “It all depends on what you are trying to achieve. An open platform is a good indicator of honesty. But if you’re trying to ‘make a sale’ while people bash your product, then you may be setting yourself up to failure. Without acknowledgment to the issue and a call-to-action from your

while these review domains cannot erase a negative review posted elsewhere on the Web, you can at least control public opinion where it matters most: at your home online, where customers do business with you. Paul Gillin, author of “The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media,” observes: “Blogs, discussion boards and other forms of interactive media are the most cost-effective customer feedback mechanism ever invented. You won’t get a representative sampling of your customers. But you will get your most passionate customers.” Fortunately, there are plenty of review service providers ready to help you bring reviews to your museum shop website,

which can be run on the service provider’s computer servers, or brought in-house, right on your computer servers. Generally, these online review communities break out into three categories. Most popular are simple social hang-outs, which offer a review domain component. These communities borrow from the Facebook model and attempt to offer as many community features as possible to attract as many visitors as possible. A second breed of online review communities are completely private, invitation-only affairs. While these are generally much smaller than the public sites, many retailers have discovered there’s a big payoff when they pick-and-choose who will belong to their review community. Meanwhile, a third genre of review community exists solely to solicit reviews. Many of these communities are driven by highly sophisticated review software packages, which walk visitors through every step of the review process and find all sorts of ways to encourage them to expound positively on your museum store. Others advocate full transparency, recommending museums air all reviews they receive, no matter how negative the content. Whatever method happens to work for you, one thing is certain: the ongoing rise of such gathering places and online review tools is inevitable. If you’re interested in going with the Facebook clone approach, which includes a review domain component, you’ll only be able to achieve that look and feel by offering a full array of community fostering amenities, including discussion boards, chatrooms, instant messaging, blogs, photo, audio and video posting, and similar community building services. You’ll also want to jump-start the community’s nerve center—the discussion board—by posting commentary on a dozen or so topics, and then encouraging visitors to offer their own reactions and opinions to the discussions you’ve started. A service provider that specializes in creating a Facebook-like review community on your site is Affinitive (

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Meanwhile, the second breed of online review communities—small, private, invitation-only affairs—are the type preferred by Communispace (, an online community service provider that specializes in designing and helping museum shops and other businesses run private meeting places. “When a few hundred members are participating on a regular basis, the quantity and quality of the content is deeper and richer than from large public sites,” says Katrina Lerman, co-author of “The Fifth P of Marketing: Participation,” a Communispace white paper. “For companies that truly want to connect with their customers, smaller may in fact be better.” The third genre of industry review communities—sites that limit all activity to public reviewing of a company’s products and services—are being used by some of the

biggest names in retail, including PepsiCo, Dell, Macy’s, Petco, Sears and Charles Schwab. One of the leading service providers in this space, Bazaarvoice (, is a review community builder that urges museum shops and others to go the transparency route. Its product is designed to solicit unvarnished reviews about your museum’s performance, which are published on your website—although still subject to your approval.

Whatever method happens to work for you, one thing is certain: the ongoing rise of such gathering places and online review tools is inevitable. Maria Kwong, Director of Retail Enterprises at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Calif., says: “We usually address our negative reviews with individual customers—there

have been very few—and they usually change their reviews once we deal with the issue.” If you’re still a bit skittish about the concept of publishing bad reviews about your museum store on your own website, you’ll probably be more interested in a solution like Genuosity’s KudosWorks ( Essentially, this is a glowing-testimonials-only approach, through which extremely enthusiastic customers offer accolade-filled write-ups about your business. Genuosity solicits the testimonials from your customers with contact tools it places on your website, as well as in marketing emails. Customers who respond are directed to a “post-your-own-testimonial” module, which includes tips on how to write a humdinger of a fan letter about your shop. Another service provider offering the keep-it-positive route is Zuberance ( If you’re not ready for any of these choices, but still want to monitor what’s being said about your museum store on

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review sites, blogs and the like, there are plenty of monitoring companies that can provide you that kind of business intelligence. Specific service providers you’ll want to evaluate for reputation monitoring include Dow Jones Insight, Nielsen, BlogSquirrel and “If solicited and used wisely and with integrity, reviews can be a very powerful marketing tool for both the museum in general and for the store,” says Eytan. “We have already used excerpts from one review for our general museum brochure which is distributed in airports, hotels and visitor centers, and we are planning to continue to use reviews in other marketing materials as well. We believe it is almost always more compelling for the public to hear from someone else who has visited the museum than from the institution itself. Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan. Voice: (646) 233-4089. Email: Web:

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n 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) amended its regulations implementing Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The amended regulations, which took effect on March 15, 2011, contain several provisions that impact retail facilities—not only regarding their operation, but also the manner in which they are constructed. Key changes affecting retail facilities are highlighted below.



Accessible Design The amended regulations adopt the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which update accessibility requirements for a vast array of building elements, such as restrooms, reach ranges, sales and service counters, and signage. These standards establish requirements for new construction and alterations, and also are used for the purpose of defining barriers to access in existing facilities.

with the 1991 Standards do not have to comply with the 2010 Standards unless such elements are altered on or after March 15, 2012. There is no “blanket” exception for facilities predating March 15, 2012; each individual element must be assessed to determine whether it is encompassed

Where the federal and state or local requirements differ, entities must follow whichever provide greater accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Adherence to the 2010 Standards is mandatory only for new construction, alterations and barrier removal commenced on or after March 15, 2012. Entities can choose to comply with either the 2010 Standards or the prior 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design for new construction, alterations or barrier removal commenced on or after Sept. 15, 2010, but prior to March 15, 2012. Additionally, pursuant to a “safe harbor” provision, building elements that comply 14


within the safe harbor. Consequently, maintaining appropriate documentation regarding the alterations to your facility will be important in establishing protection under the safe harbor. Some examples of key changes in the 2010 Standards affecting retailers include the requirements for sales or service counters. Under the 2010 Standards, if a wheelchair user can only make a forward approach to the sales or service counter, knee and toe clearance must be provided

beneath that counter; this enables the individual to pull forward far enough to use the counter. This requirement can be avoided, however, by providing a “side approach,” i.e., a clear floor space at least 30 inches by 48 inches positioned parallel to the counter. Consequently, retailers should ensure that merchandise displays do not obstruct this space and the approach to the counter. The 2010 Standards also reduce the reach range allowed for items required to be accessible to a maximum height of 48 inches (as measured to the highest operable part). Merchandise shelving and other display apparatus are excepted from this requirement, but it does apply to items such as point-of-sale (POS) devices and self-service dispensers. The federal accessibility standards do not supersede requirements under state or local law that provide for greater accessibility. For example, although the federal standards permit the top surface of sales and service counters to be 36 inches

high, California limits the height to 34 inches. Where the federal and state or local requirements differ, entities must follow whichever provide greater accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It is critical that entities consider state or local accessibility requirements in making changes to their facilities. Information regarding state and local requirements generally can be obtained from the state or local agency which enforces that jurisdiction’s building code.

Service Animals The amended regulations clarify an entity’s obligations regarding service animals. Most significantly, the definition of “service animal” is restricted to dogs and in some cases, miniature horses. No other type of animal qualifies as a service animal under Title III of the ADA (although state or local law may recognize a broader range of animals as service animals). The DOJ declined to impose restrictions regarding the size, weight or breed of dog that can qualify as a service animal, but indicated

that attack dogs are not appropriate service animals. Service animals must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Emotional support or “comfort animals” are not considered service animals under Title III of the ADA (although they may be recognized under state or local law), as they are not trained to do work or perform specific tasks for a person with a disability. The DOJ does recognize “psychiatric service animals” as legitimate service animals, however. Psychiatric services animals are distinguished from emotional support or comfort animals in that they perform a task or service for a person with a psychiatric disability, such as reminding the person to take medication, or preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. “Seeing eye” and “hearing ear” dogs are commonly recognized types of service animals, but they are not the only types. Service animals can perform a wide variety of work or tasks, such as pulling

a wheelchair, alerting an individual to or assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items, and assisting with balance and stability. They also are used to assist individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and individuals with autism. The amended regulations require that retailers assess whether a miniature horse can be accommodated as a service animal within their facilities. The following factors must be considered: 1) type, size and weight of the horse; 2) the handler’s control of the horse; 3) whether the horse is housebroken; and 4) whether the horse’s presence compromises any legitimate safety requirements. Refusal to admit a miniature horse as a service animal has already generated litigation. The amended regulations also clarify that a service animal can be excluded from a facility if it is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken.

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In such case, the person with a disability still must be provided an opportunity to use the facility or obtain the goods or services offered, without the animal on the premises. To aid in identifying animals as legitimate service animals and controlling their behavior, the service animal generally must have a harness, leash or other tether. These are not required if the animal’s handler is unable to use such devices due to a disability or if such devices would interfere with the animal’s performance of its work or tasks. Additionally, unless it is readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, you can make limited inquiries as to whether the animal is a service animal. These inquiries are limited to the following: 1) is the animal required because of a disability; and 2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? Inquiries about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability are strictly prohibited, and a retailer cannot require documentation that the animal is a service animal, e.g., proof the animal is certified, trained or licensed.

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Given the plethora of devices that can be used by individuals with disabilities for mobility assistance, the amended regulations also clarify a facility’s obligations in accommodating the use of power-driven devices, such as the Segway® PT, that are used by individuals with disabilities for mobility assistance, even though they were not designed primarily for this purpose. When used as a mobility aid by an individual with a disability, use of the device must be permitted unless it cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements. For example, gasolinepowered devices need not be permitted in indoor facilities. Wheelchairs, whether manual or powered, must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use.

In assessing whether power-driven devices can be safely operated in a particular facility, the following factors must be considered: 1) type, size, weight, dimensions and speed of the device; 2) the facility’s volume of pedestrian traffic; 3) the facility’s design and operational characteristics; 4) whether legitimate safety requirements can be established to permit safe operation (for example, a speed limit); and 5) whether use of the device creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment (or natural or cultural resources) or conflict with Federal land management laws. The DOJ has indicated that in the “vast majority of cases,” application of these factors will require that a facility permit use of a Segway® PT. Policies prohibiting the use of a Segway® PT were the subject of litigation even prior to issuance of the amended regulations, which are likely to bolster claims that such devices must be accommodated. To address concerns about the ability of facility operators to distinguish between those individuals using power-driven devices for reasons related to a disability and those using them for other purposes, the amended regulations permit retailers to request “credible assurance” that the power-driven mobility device is required because of a disability. This may take the form of a verbal representation that the device is required because of a disability, unless that representation is contradicted by observable fact. An entity also must accept presentation of a valid, State-issued disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability, although an entity cannot require the individual to produce such documentation. Inquiries about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability, however, are strictly prohibited. Teresa L. Jakubowski is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and a member of the firm’s disability law practice. She counsels and represents facility owners and operators with respect to all aspects of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and analogous accessibility laws.






[1] [3]







ffering shoppers ecologically and economically responsible options in your museum store can be good for the environment, the world and your bottom line. “We are moving from being indifferent consumers to responsible, participant consumers,” says Belart’s Tulianna Garcés-Serbousek, from Sunderland, Vt., “aware that we can change the world while we shop and that our dollars can be a force for global change.” “Consumers are really starting to actively question where their products are being manufactured and what materials they are made from,” adds Marija Horvatek of Trü Protection in Burbank, Calif. “People appreciate honest and environmentally responsible products. They feel good buying it, knowing that they are doing their part in helping maximize a positive impact on the earth.” “Going green is definitely a trend that is here to stay,” Janet Egan of Janet Egan Design, South Dartmouth, Mass., adds. “From building materials to clothing to communication.” Peruse our buyer’s guide on the next pages and once you’ve ordered your selections, look to the following tips from vendors on merchandising and moving the goods.



with a whole pot, pottery shards, a photo album of the step-by-step process the potters and silversmith go through, plus a customer story card for provenance for the education of the sales staff and customers.

• Actively use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use relevant hashtags such as #ecofriendly. “Social media spreads the word quickly and to a wider audience about any product,” says Horvatek, “especially to the younger generations who, as we have seen, are especially concerned with saving the earth and making conscious decisions.” • Use pre-recycled items in displays. “Visualize the before and after for the customer,” says Jan Diers of Mata Ortiz to You, Marana, Ariz. The company includes a marketing kit



• Support green or Fair Trade events in your community or host such a happening at your store. “There are many ways to approach the green/ Fair Trade/recycling movement,” says Barb Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Middlebury, Vt. “From an agricultural standpoint there are the shop local, community supported agriculture and farm-to-table projects. Discussions about green as it relates to economics (both home and abroad), environmental impacts, political slant (GMOs for example), social impacts of buying local, and the global discussion about pollution—a museum with a bit of creativity can find a slant that works for them.”

• Model the clothes and jewelry and sample coffees, teas and other edibles. Egan encourages managers and associates to wear her jackets. “They look so much nicer on and people will buy them right off their bodies! Mannequins,” she notes, “are a good substitute.” • Know and tell the story. “It makes a world of difference when the staff at the stores know the story and believe in the mission, so we try to provide information that educates the staff,” says Devin Hibbard of BeadForLife, Boulder, Colo., “and encourage them to wear the beads and speak with customers about the special impact that buying them creates in Uganda.” [1]

Baabaazuzu upcycled wool sweater headbands are eco-stylish as well as functional. Each one-of-a-kind headband is hand-crafted in Michigan, 100 percent recycled, lined with











extremely talented and inventive artisans from the country recycle found material to create pieces of beauty. Leopold Ndemera, a fine Shona stone sculptor, is adding new creations such as water birds made from cow horns—each caught in a graceful movement. Available in two sizes.

polar fleece and adorned with a vintage button. They make a great gift— or keep one for yourself—to add an extra layer of warmth, flair and uniqueness. One size fits all. Other accessories are available, including mumsy pins, slippers, purses, hats and more. [2]


Bucky, the deer trophy head from Cardboard Safari, is the perfect companion for home or office; a beautiful modern design that makes a great gift. It was the company’s first product and continues to be its best seller. In addition to the standard colors, Bucky can be decorated with paint, glitter or other craft materials. Each is made of recycled cardboard and laser-cut for precision fit and easy assembly using slotted construction. Accents for Today offers crafts, folk art and greeting cards from artists around the world, such as the Cow Horn Birds from Zimbabwe. The



BeadForLife creates a meaningful circle of connection, drawing in women from around the world. Women in Uganda roll beads from recycled paper to create this Fair Trade jewelry. Shown is the Etana necklace. “Etana” means “strength” in Swahili. Also shown are several Sanyu Bangles—one of the company’s most popular items. “Sanyu” means “joy” in Luganda. All pieces are finished with a signature BeadForLife tag. Eastern Shore Tea Company offers one-of-a-kind blends in beautifully packaged full-color label, hand-tied-

ribbon bags. Merchandise with your own private label or bring in the line under the Eastern Shore Tea label. All teas are imported full leaf, then blended, flavored and packaged. Each classic ribbon bag contains 20 foil wrapped tea bags. Baltimore Coffee and Tea also roasts Fair Trade Organics for private label. [6]

The new Shape Stacker from Maple Landmark Woodcraft introduces four educational concepts—shapes, shape names, numbers and patterning— along with geometric and architectural



[14] [15]


qualities. Crafted in Middlebury, Vt., from sustainably harvested solid hardwood maple, pieces are sanded smooth with engraved details. The stack measures almost 5 inches tall. The dowel to hold the pieces is 1-inch thick. Designed for children 6 months and up. [7]



Baskets of Cambodia produces original products that shine for their attention to quality, detail and craftsmanship. The company’s best-selling Saraye Tatami style purse line starts with grasses of the Mekong Delta that are hand-selected, dried and hand-dyed and woven into distinct textures, colors and shapes. The juxtaposition of reed and baked ceramics creates a novel work of art. Belart’s Tagua, Vintage Lace and PreColumbian pieces are Fair Trade, eco-chic and created by hand from sustainable green materials and


re-purposed metals. The company works with displaced communities in Columbia, South America. Collections like the Agave are also 100 percent solar powered. Each collection is inspired by ancient cultures and thousands of years of tradition, hand-casted in the lost wax method or hand-dipped in 24K gold or .925 sterling silver. [9]

The tradition in India is for girls to begin sewing blankets for their dowries when they are 8 years old. Janet Egan Design selects the best of these hand-stitched vintage wedding quilts and makes them into pieces of wearable art. The Marriage Jackets are one-of-a-kind and part of the company’s Dowry Collection. Available in mid-length or long; reversible with hand chain-stitching adding subtle adornment. Sizes XS-1XL.

[10] General Pencil Company’s Sketch & Go MultiPastel Drawing Kit is

made in the U.S.A. and contains everything needed to draw anywhere. Includes five pastel pencils (made with responsibly harvested, renewable Incense Cedar wood), pencil travel bag, drawing journal, eraser, sharpener, pencil point protectors and a how-to-draw project and technique booklet. Features step-by-step art lessons with artist Sean Dye, teaching how to draw nature and still life scenes. [11] iPhone 5 cases from Trü Protection are manufactured in the United States. Cases are printed in-house, so buyers can choose from the Artist Series or design a custom case. All are made of recycled plastics. Artists receive a royalty and also choose a foundation to which 15 percent of the profit of each sale is donated. Shown are cases from the Artist Series, including Hibiscus Sunset, Lanikai and Lightly Adrift.

[12] The mini Trebuchet from RLT Industries is made of locally harvested and milled hardwood and string, plus a few metal pieces for weight. No plastic parts. The fully functional model of the ultimate artillery weapon of the medieval period and early Renaissance makes a fun display. The company offers many other catapult kits, all designed by master trebuchet expert Ron Toms. Computer-controlled precision manufacturing makes for easy assembly. The plywood used for all models is LEED and CARB P2 compliant and formaldehyde free. [13] Indy Plush hand-crafts unique and edgy eco-friendly plush dolls in the U.S.A.; all items are made in Los Angeles. Each creation has a personalized story. Owly the pirate was born in Canada, winters in Florida and likes to visit relatives in Finland and Estonia. Luke’s Dog Skelly is part Beagle and part Boxer who likes dark chocolate and bubbly water and lives in a solar doghouse. [14] One-of-a-kind, handmade fine jewelry—such as this pendant—are available from Mata Ortiz to You. All are made with Mata Ortiz pottery shards and .950 silver. Every high-fashion yet affordable piece combines the stories of the past with the fine workmanship of today. Each item comes with a story card for provenance. The pendant has been featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

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[15] Crafting can be a form of recycling that is both fun and sustainable, especially with these Cornhusk Doll Kits from Historical Folk Toys. The kits feature cornhusks, which are typically discarded after a corn harvest, as the base for the historical doll. Size varies due to the length of the cornhusks. Also included are sustainable products such as cotton string and horsehair. Additionally, all products are now shipped carbon neutral. April Miller is a Cleveland-based writer and a regular contributor to Museum Store. She last wrote the Holiday Gifts and Buyer’s Guide in the summer 2013 issue.

RETAIL BUYER’S GUIDE Accents for Today, Inc. (212) 517-9438 See our ad on page 6 baabaazuzu (231) 256-7176 See our ad on page 11 Baskets of Cambodia (425) 778-8000 See our ad on page 16 BeadForLife (303) 554-5901 See our ad on page 32 26


Belart (802) 375-2555 See our ad on page 5 NATURAL AROMATHERAPY

Cardboard Safari (877) 895-9453 See our ad on page 17 Eastern Shore Tea Company (a Div. of Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company) (800) 823-1408 See our ad on page 13 General Pencil Company (650) 369-4889 See our ad on page 12

Shop for the highest quality natural aromatherapy incense plus eco-friendly Fair Trade ŐŝŌƐ͘ĂůůŽƌŐŽŽŶůŝŶĞ today for your free wholesale catalog and ŝŶĐĞŶƐĞƐĂŵƉůĞ͘ SPECIAL OFFER FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR FIRST ORDER. USE CODE MSA2013.

Historical Folk Toys, LLC (800) 871-1984 See our ad on page 37 Indy Plush (310) 902-1651 See our ad on page 30 Janet Egan Design (774) 202-2190 See our ad on page 13 Maple Landmark Woodcraft (800) 421-4223 See our ad on page 39 Mata Ortiz to You (520) 744-0639 See our ad on page 16 RLT Industries (830) 632-5118 See our ad on page 11 Trü Protection (877) 342-4160 See our ad on page 39

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Texans often like to boast that everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. At the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, there’s some truth to that claim. >>>

n 2012, the institution underwent a $10-million renovation and redesign of its exhibits, adding state-of-the-art audiovisuals and touch-screen interactive areas that allow visitors to connect with the library’s 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, 1 million feet of film, 2,000 oral histories and 5,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Lyndon Johnson and his associates. The Store at LBJ also enjoyed a facelift, expanding from 900 square feet to 1,500 square feet, with custom-built fixtures and display units, a mobile point-of-sale system (see sidebar on page 32), and broadened merchandise reflecting the life and times of America’s 36th president and his wife Lady Bird. A revamped online store rounds out the retail offerings. “We expect the new store to attract more visitors and generate more sales,” says Blair Newberry, Retail Manager. “That’s important because profits from the store support the library.”




residential libraries don’t start with merchandise sales as a goal, and that certainly was the case with the LBJ Library and

Museum when it opened in 1972 on the campus of the University of Texas. One of 13 presidential libraries, it is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Originally, there was no store at all, just a few commemorative items sold at the welcome desk. Eventually, a small shop evolved in the lobby, and in 1982, its operation was transferred to the LBJ Foundation, which provides financial support for both the LBJ Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. During the 1990s, the library and store were updated, but the effort was piecemeal, and the store remained tucked in a corner of the lobby. Then, in 2012, the foundation’s board launched a total renovation of the facility, funding the cost with private donations. “The board had the foresight to include the store in the redesign from the outset, so there would be a cohesive look throughout the building,” Newberry says. “They realized that by investing in an intentional space for the store, we could broaden our merchandise and display it more professionally, which would raise more money for the foundation in the long run.”





After a nationwide search, the foundation selected Gallagher and Associates of Washington, D.C., to redesign the library’s permanent exhibits and store. During a year-long project, two and a half floors of space were gutted and rebuilt, and the expanded store was repositioned at the exhibits’ exit to capture the attention of visitors as they leave.

CHALLENGES, GLITCHES AND SOLUTIONS he design was in place and the contractor hired when Newberry joined the organization as retail manager in February 2012, but there were still challenges to solve


and glitches to overcome. For example, the store’s long, narrow layout presented the challenge of designing an appealing front entrance. To give it a more open feel, glass doors, walls and shelves were installed to display products while providing visitors a view into the store from the lobby. Newberry also had input on configuring the store’s register area, storage space, signage and lighting. “I learned not to make any assumptions about a designer’s understanding of a retailer’s needs,” she explains. “Their expertise is designing museums, and they didn’t always anticipate how a space should function for customers and employees in a retail setting.” Part of the design, for example, called for custom-built fixtures. “They were beautiful, but when they were installed, we realized that some of them weren’t built to hold enough weight, and we had to have them redone,” Newberry says. “It was my first experience with custom-made fixtures, and it didn’t occur to me to specify their weight-bearing requirements.”

Newberry caught another glitch when she watched shelving units being installed along the original travertine walls. She realized that once the heavy shelves were pushed against the walls, they would cover several electrical outlets—outlets she planned to use during the holidays for Christmas lights. “There’s no easy way to add outlets to travertine walls, so I ran to the hardware store, bought extension cords and plugged them in before the shelves were moved into place,” she recalls. Lighting went beyond a few outlets; it was an integral aspect of the store’s redesign. “I attended an MSA Conference session about the importance of lighting, so I was pleased that the board invested in a lighting designer,” Newberry says. “Customers may not notice the lighting, but good lighting affects how they notice merchandise.” Newberry’s biggest challenge, however, was dealing with closures while the project was underway. The store closed from December 2011 to April 2012 during construction of its new space. But even

“I attended an MSA Conference session about the importance of lighting, so I was pleased that the board invested in a lighting designer. Customers may not notice the lighting, but good lighting affects how they notice merchandise.” —BLAIR NEWBERRY

after the store re-opened in April, much of the museum itself remained closed for the rest of the year. “We always kept a few exhibits open, but it was very minimal,” Newberry recalls. “As expected, visitor and sales numbers dropped.” For those who did come to the museum while the store was closed, Newberry donated postcard books to the welcome desk so visitors could leave with at least some memento of their experience. Throughout the construction and closures, Newberry continued to work full30


[Left] The front entrance of The Store at LBJ features glass doors, walls and shelves to give it a more open look.

time and involved herself in the day-to-day progress. “I tried to check on the project often, ask lots of questions, and stay on my toes because unexpected things would happen,” she says. “There were lots of cooks in the kitchen, so to speak—board members, the designer, the sub-contractors. It was important for me to be in the middle of it, too.”

MERCHANDISE THAT EDUCATES he LBJ Museum and Library’s grand opening took place on Dec. 22, 2012, to coincide with Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday. The store greeted visitors with a sleek, uncluttered look and expanded merchandise that relates to the life and legacy of Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird and their contemporaries.


“We have placards for all our merchandise to explain how items connect to the museum’s exhibits,” Newberry says. “In that way, we continue to educate visitors as they browse through the store.” One example: Visitors will find a section with “Sesame Street” characters. Asked what Big Bird and LBJ have in common, a placard explains that President Johnson signed legislation funding PBS, with “Sesame Street” one of the most beloved results. To guide her display decisions, Newberry developed a planogram. Items about U.S. history stand out in an area with red, white and blue signage. Merchandise related to the Civil Rights Movement is grouped together, and a Lady Bird Johnson section carries products that reflect her interest in nature and the environment, including wildflower seeds, gardening gifts, books on native plants and floral-themed pieces. Newberry also recognized that for some visitors, such as those attending a conference


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evamping The Store at LBJ presented an ideal opportunity to install a new point-of-sale (POS) system that could track both in-store and online inventory, and travel with the staff to make sales off site.

at the library, a stop at the store may be their only chance to bring home something that says “Texas.” To meet that need, she stocks Texas and Austin souvenirs, including University of Texas Longhorns t-shirts. “As a store manager, I always ask myself where visitors are coming from and what they might want to buy while they are here,” she explains. Free parking for store visitors and a 10 percent discount for members of the library encourage additional foot traffic. During the redesign, Newberry determined that some merchandise would sell better online. For example, the store has a large collection of donated campaign buttons and memorabilia, both from Johnson’s campaigns and the campaigns of other presidents. “A local collector volunteered his time to assess the value of each piece so I could price them appropriately,” Newberry says. “It’s a pure profit opportunity, but it’s difficult to display items like this individually in the store.” Her solution: Sell small packages of campaign buttons in the store and offer the rest online.

After researching options and asking for suggestions on MSA’s ShopTalk,

Blair Newberry, Retail Manager, chose a LightSpeed system that uses Mac


computers and iPad tablets. Now, the store has two register stations—one runs


off a Mac and the other uses an iPad. Both feature touch screens that display photos of products as they are rung up, allowing clerks to double-check that they have the correct items. “The system is very user friendly,” Newberry reports. “Theoretically, we could walk around the store with the iPad, use it to answer customers’ questions, show other products and complete the transaction right there.” Newberry also can use the iPad to scan items in the store when it’s time to take inventory, and she can easily add new products to the online store without the help of a programmer. Away from the store, Newberry and her staff (one full-time assistant manager and four part-time employees) use the iPad to ring up sales and take credit card payments at events held in other locations. They recently attended a book launch with the author at the Austin apartment of Luci Johnson (daughter of Lyndon and Lady Bird), and used the iPad to sell books. “All we needed was a wireless connection,” Newberry says. “We’ve gone mobile!”



ith construction behind her, Newberry reflects on the results. “In my opinion, the three biggest things that improved the store are the lighting, the upgraded fixtures and the way we’ve organized the merchandise,” she says. “We get compliments all the time from visitors who tell us that they love our products and how easy it is to find things. They seem to have fun shopping here. For me, that spells success.” Catherine Newton is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. She last wrote how a new museum store emerged after disaster struck the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library for the 2013 spring issue of Museum Store magazine.

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A MOVEMENT THAT MATCHES THE MISSION Raising awareness and offering customers the opportunity to provide invaluable support to artisans worldwide through their purchases enriches the museum store shopping experience. BY MARGE D. HANSEN


he developing world is a challenging place to live. But it’s also a source of skillfully crafted wares that communicate remarkable stories of people and places around the globe. Many institutions recognize promoting meaningful products that improve employment and help effect social change can elevate commerce, no matter how small the purchase, to a future-changing transaction. “For us, what is moving about these goods that do good is their potential to empower both the artisan and the customer,” Pamela Balton, Vice President, Special Projects at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Calif., explains. “The artisans are able to improve conditions for themselves and their families, fulfilling basic needs and building a better future for their entire communities. The customers—smart buyers, as Katy Leakey of our Beads for Learning vendor, The Leakey Collection, calls them—are able to make more socially conscious purchases that can make a difference in the lives of others.”

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A MOVEMENT THAT MATCHES THE MISSION The Skirball organized the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” exhibit that ran from October 2011 through May 2012. The show was inspired by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s acclaimed book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” A 950-square-foot gallery was transformed into a holiday popup shop where extraordinary items fashioned by women artisans were instrumental in driving traffic to the exhibit. “The exhibition made very clear that if women are able to formally participate in the economy, their status in society often dramatically improves,” Bolton explains. Throughout the gallery, as well as in the pop-up shop, the stories of women


entrepreneurs transforming their lives illustrated this important point.” Balton describes the work around the show as an impressive collaboration between various departments within the Skirball Cultural Center. “From security to vice presidents, we were all involved,” she emphasizes. Underscoring this broadly inclusive effort on the part of the Skirball staff, Balton was

A holiday pop-up shop of products by women artisans helped drive traffic to the Skirball Cultural Center’s “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” exhibit.

one of the presenters of “Buying In Without Selling Out: Museum Stores as Partners in Programming” at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting & Museum Expo, held in Baltimore, Md., in May. (William Appleton, Assistant Director

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for Public Programs and Education, Saint Louis Art Museum, and Stuart Hata, Director of Retail Operations, de Young and Legion of Honor/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, also presented.) The subject of the session centered around innovative partnerships that show how museum stores have been valuable participants in deepening content and building audiences. Impressive outcomes of “Women Hold Up Half the Skyâ€? called out in the AAM presentation included short- and long-term results: • More than 7,000 items were sold in the pop-up shop, realizing financial success for the institution and participating cooperatives. • Capture rate hit a high of 39 percent in November and 38 percent in December. • The holiday pop-up shop as a destination also garnered its own publicity. • Customers and staff interfaced in a meaningful way. • Merchandise was so well-received that Fair Trade crafts are now always featured in the store’s product mix. • The cause united the staff in a common purpose. • The exhibit and shop proved the benefits of a successful coordinated effort between the curatorial, education, public programs, communications/marketing departments and the store.

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t is exciting that the preservation of timehonored traditions and primitive processes passed from generation to generation are part of a contemporary movement to create change. Earlier this year, Elhadji, a traditional Tuareg silversmith and the patriarch of the Koumama family from Niger, Africa, one of the poorest countries on the planet, returned to The National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., for the second time. This three-day event was part of a series of trunk shows offering artisan-produced work.

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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP Our mission is that ‘we shop the world for you,’ and to be able to offer support for the family and Tuareg people means a great deal to our customers.”





Elhadji, a Tuareg silversmith, demonstrates the traditional lost wax process of jewelry making for visitors to The National Geographic Society.


Vet every organization to ensure that you support their ethics and how they operate.


Use hangtags, gift inserts, your website, social media and press releases/press kits to spread awareness.


Invite docents to train as storytellers.


Coordinate trunk shows with organizations willing to provide a rep to talk about the artisans and their goods.


Be prepared to negotiate payment terms and work with organizations to secure payment to the vendor. Example: “We worked with the woman who worked for Women for Women International to coordinate payment to the felted scarves organization 7 Sisters in Kyrgyzstan,” says Pamela Balton of the Skirball Cultural Center.



“Elhadji did a demonstration each day in our courtyard, showing the lost wax process of jewelry making,” relates Ellen Tozer, Director of Retail Operations for the National Geographic Store. “He uses a small charcoal brazier. First, he makes the piece out of wax. Then he makes a clay mold around it, heats it, pours out the wax, pours in the melted silver and cools it. When the mold is chipped off you have the piece, which then needs to be filed and polished.” This traditional jewelry-making process shapes 99.9 percent pure silver, purchased by the kilo in Europe and at the market in Niamey, Niger’s capital city, into exquisite, one-of-a-kind pieces. Tuareg craftsmen still use many of the simple tools their seminomadic ancestors carried from place to place by camel. “Sales were very high during the three days of the trunk show. Everyone who bought a piece from him last year came back this year and bought more,” notes Tozer. “Everyone enjoyed meeting Elhadji and hearing about his work and his country.

he de Young Museum in San Francisco, Calif., launched its Fair Trade Bazaar in 2011. The third annual, two-day gathering held in August included 17 artisan groups and a demonstration by a weaver from Mexico to give prominence to the hands-on, hand-crafted origin of the finished products. Rose Burke, Merchandise Manager for the de Young/Legion of Honor Museum Stores, says the idea behind the bazaar, as well as their November Holiday Artisan Fair (which features local artisans) and Artwear (a May event devoted to textiles and jewelry) “is to highlight artisan-made products and, because we are a department of the museum, to help extend the gallery experience for our

“Recycled paper jewelry from Uganda and recycled fabric coin purses from Guatemala are great items to carry and require a very minimal investment. When a customer picks up a recycled paper bracelet, our sales associates automatically tell them the background on the bracelet.” —ROSE BURKE, DE YOUNG/ LEGION OF HONOR MUSEUM STORES

visitors by providing relevant merchandising opportunities. That we are able to aid in social awareness for various artisan groups and entrepreneurship is a bonus.” The artisan stories are important product add-ons. Who made it? Where did it come from? Many shoppers don’t have a clear understanding of what Fair Trade is, which expands the possibility to educate them via cards, labels and signage. An excellent example of this is the hangtags attached to intricately woven baskets, carvings and apparel crafted by Virunga Artisans, who live

in the Virunga/Bwindi region of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, also home to the last 700 mountain gorillas. Virunga Artisans took part in the Fair Trade Bazaar for the first time this year. Their product tag reads: “Thank you for supporting the Virunga Artisans…empowering them to change their lives, access healthcare and education for their children, and conserve the endangered mountain gorilla.” Ock Pop Tok, producing woven textiles in Laos, was part of the inaugural bazaar, as well as the 2012 and 2013 events. The colors achieved by hand-dying are amazing. The materials are fashioned from homegrown hemp, delicate silk and organic cotton yarns. Centuries-old motifs and patterns spring from the diverse traditions of 49 officially recognized Laotian ethnic groups. As stated on their website, “The philosophy behind Ock Pop Tok was and continues to be to empower women through their traditional skills, as well as promoting the beauty of Laotian textiles across the globe.” Bazaar sales have increased each year and “continue to surpass expectations,” according to Burke. Customers can also find both Virunga and Ock Pop Tok pieces at the de Young store.



hether part of the regular store inventory or the focus of a special event, Fair Trade items and social entrepreneurship fit well with museum retailing. “Products are not hard to find. With the handmade global section at the New York Gift Show, it’s easy to meet vendors working with a variety of artisans and groups. The contacts expand from there,” Tozer confirms. “To introduce visitors to new artistic pieces and to help make them aware of the many different ways people are living and working all over the world can be inspiring!” Marge D. Hansen is a freelance writer based in Broomfield, Colo., who regularly contributes to Museum Store. She recently wrote “A Profit-Making Match: The Store + Regular Museum Events,” which appeared in the summer 2013 issue. FALL 2013 | MUSEUM STORE


Beyond the



hen you think of visiting a cemetery, the last thing on your mind is shopping. Right? Think again. While there aren’t many of them, the number of cemeteries with gift shops is growing. Places like Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., have had their own gift shops for many years. The idea may seem strange but it’s gaining traction. Thanks to and shows like TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?,” interest in tracing one’s roots is on the rise. As more genealogy enthusiasts visit historic cemeteries seeking answers, the notion of opening gift shops to further that experience has grown.








emeteries with gift shops tend to share some similar traits. They are usually large in size, are park-like in nature and have a long, rich past. Their focus is on sharing the cemetery’s unique history and natural beauty with visitors. Like many museums, a cemetery may open a gift shop with the goal of enabling guests to take a piece of their experience home with them. At the same time, wrapping one’s mind around the idea of a cemetery having a gift shop is a hurdle store managers face. Many people today think of cemeteries as places for mourning and sadness. This wasn’t always the case. In the Victorian era, cemeteries were considered picturesque havens where families could pay their respects to loved ones while enjoying the flora and fauna around them. Alexis Jeffcoat, Development and Programs Coordinator at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery, says “Laurel Hill was started as a place for the living as well as the dead. We’ve always taken the time to explain to people that the way people feel about death right now is very different from how Victorians felt about it when they founded Laurel Hill Cemetery offers a diverse mix of merchandise for customers. it. Activities like enjoying a picnic or taking a stroll at a cemetery are From t-shirts touting their Rest in Peace 5K to Christmas ornaments to actually long-standing traditions.” tombstone-shaped soaps, they have a little something for everyone. Established in 1836, Laurel Hill is one of a handful of cemeteries in the United States to be designated a National Historic Landmark. Financially supported by the nonprofit Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, they rely heavily on donations. In operation since 2006, Laurel Hill’s gift shop assists in financially making it possible for some of the cemetery’s oldest graves to be preserved. “We are so old that at this point, for many of the people buried here, everyone they knew is long gone,” Jeffcoat explains. “A lot of the plots don’t have endowment, so the Friends of Laurel Hill helps to raise the funds to take care of it. When you buy a t-shirt or a funny magnet, the money goes toward achieving that.”



inding the right mix of merchandise is critical for cemetery store managers. Striking the proper balance of respect for the past while adding a dash of humor is a fine line that can be tricky to maintain. Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio, has a very small shop in one corner of its office. Because of the limited space, Office/Customer Service Manager Debra Mescher keeps her focus very specific on what items she sells, such as postcards, and prints of photos and paintings of cemetery scenes by local artists. They also sell CDs of an audio guide guests can listen to in their cars as they drive through the cemetery.





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Beyond the

Grave “Our tours are based on the people buried here, especially the Wright brothers and their aviation history. We also have a tour based on the beer brewing barons buried at Woodland. Visitors can purchase books about those tours in our store,” she says. At Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery, Visitor Center/Museum Shop Manager Sally Smith tries to maintain a variety of historical items specific to the cemetery along with some more humorous items, such as skull-shaped erasers. One of Oakland’s mausoleums has gargoyles on the corners of its roof, so Smith sells smaller versions of them in the store. “We sell a hollowed-out skull made of plaster of Paris made by a local vendor,” says Private Events Coordinator Phil Hulst. “A

An Art Museum in a Cemetery? With six cemetery locations in Southern California, Forest Lawn boasts an impressive museum at its Glendale location. In addition to ongoing temporary exhibits, the museum features permanent collections of western bronzes, stained glass, historical American pieces, original paintings and cultural artifacts. According to Museum Operations Supervisor Elizabeth Bloess, the museum’s accompanying store opened in 1952. In the past, mementos such as commemorative glassware, china, silver, figurines and pamphlets were sold. “Over time, we adapted our merchandise to reflect not only our art and history, but the evolving tastes of our customers,” Bloess says. “Today, the museum store tells a story of the art and history of Forest Lawn and predominantly carries merchandise that directly relates to Forest Lawn’s world-renowned fine art collection.” Because Forest Lawn has a museum, having a gift shop is not as far fetched an idea to visitors as it might be at a regular cemetery. “To visitors unknowing of the history of our organization, without having seen it for themselves, I often hear, ‘What…kind of exhibits are in a museum in a cemetery?’ This is to be expected and understandable,” Bloess says. “Once they see it, even just by browsing through Forest Lawn’s website, they get it.”



Woodland Cemetery’s store is very small but focused on their mission. On the mantle are toy trucks made out of wood from trees that fell at the cemetery due to Hurricane Ike.

dentist bought one and said he was going to place it on his office counter, and put candy in it with a note that says ‘This could happen to you if you eat too much candy.’” Jeffcoat tries to find quirky items that guests can’t find anywhere else. “Last year, I found these little coffin and hearse Christmas ornaments. Those really sold well so I’m looking into ordering them again this year. I also found someone who actually makes tombstone-shaped soaps that smell wonderful.” Making sure all of Laurel Hill’s guests find something that interests them is key to Jeffcoat. “We can have a sense of humor with some of our items, but it’s important to balance that with someone who is a fan of the cemetery but who may have more conservative tastes. That’s one of the things we have learned over the years. There should be a little something for everyone.”



ecause many cemetery stores operate on a shoestring budget, managers have to be strategic in what they purchase to avoid getting stuck with too much unsold inventory. Jeffcoat learned this lesson the hard way. “We designed a Christmas ornament in 2009 and it sold out. They were gone in days so they had to be back ordered. But the 2010 and 2011 ornaments did not sell nearly as well. The 2009 one sold well, I think, due to the sheer novelty of it. It’s worth it to really

think about what you are ordering and test it before ordering large quantities.” When a tornado uprooted about 100 trees at Oakland Cemetery in 2008, Smith was able to turn a disaster into a positive for the store. Using wood from the downed trees, several of Oakland’s volunteers created unique items to sell, such as wine bottle stoppers, pens and candle stick holders. One vendor and his friends made key chain fobs from the wood Smith supplied. “All I had to do was pay for the metal parts, the men donated their time,” she noted. “The wooden items have proven to be very popular with visitors.” Woodland Cemetery faced a similar situation in 2008 when Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc on the grounds, causing 32 trees to fall. A local man used the wood from those trees to carve toy trucks that Mescher then sold in the store. Smith enlists the services of the same vendor who made the key chain fobs to provide baseball caps with Oakland’s logo embroidered on it. Because he does them by hand, she can order small quantities when she needs them. Items like bottled water and snacks for weary guests, especially during hot summers, are a must in the Atlanta store. “If anything has helped pay the bills, it’s the drinks and snacks,” Smith says. “Even some of our restoration crews will come in and buy those items. They’re worth selling.”

It’s tough when you don’t have a dedicated person working on it because it is hard to respond to trends as quickly and make adjustments. It may be worthwhile to get a volunteer to help do some of the day-today work of the gift shop.” Smith’s shop is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, who do everything from giving tours to working in the visitor’s center (where the gift shop is located). Because they are freely giving their time, Smith tries to work with volunteers’ different schedules

and make their job as easy as possible. “I keep my phone number and Phil’s prominently displayed, so if someone is having a problem, we can help resolve it for them as quick as possible,” she says. “We really try to make sure everything is properly priced so they don’t have any confusion over what something costs.” Traci Rylands lives in Atlanta, Ga., and last wrote an article in the spring 2013 issue of Museum Store magazine titled “ReConstructing Your E-Store.”

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hen considering opening a store in a cemetery, Jeffcoat advises starting an online store first to gauge interest and test what items might be popular with shoppers. “The best thing you can do is start small and scale up, meaning it is much better to start out with five or 10 items that you sell then grow from there. You don’t have to be full throttle from the very beginning.” Figuring out if you have enough time and staff to devote to a store is also important, Jeffcoats points out. “Small organizations like ours have the challenge of someone wearing a lot of hats.

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s a member of MSA, you have access to some of the best product vendors. When you purchase from them, you are supporting your community. The following are some of MSA’s newest affiliate advertisers, all of whom are vendors waiting to help you stock merchandise that will coincide with your museum’s mission.

Acacia Creations............................................ 20 Accents for Today, Inc. .................................... 6 baabaazuzu .................................................... 11


Baskets of Cambodia .................................... 16 BC Home........................................................ 35 BeadForLife ................................................... 32 Belart ............................................................... 5 The Boeing Store ........................................... 21 Bridgebrands Chocolate ............................... 26 Bullpen Book Sales ....................................... 27 Cardboard Safari ........................................... 17 Clear Solutions, Inc. ..................................... 25 David Changar Ceramic Designs .................. 25 Dsenyo ........................................................... 36 Eastern Shore Tea Company (A Div. of Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company) ......... 13 EDC Publishing/Usborne/Kane Miller .......... 23 Folkmanis ...................................................... 33 Found Image Press ....................................... 38 Fractiles, Inc. ................................................. 43 Galison/Mudpuppy ......................................... 26 General Pencil Company............................... 12

APPLEWOOD BOOKS Carlisle, Mass. | (800) 277-5312 | Applewood Books, publishers of America’s living past, was founded in 1976. The company shares its mission with many historic and cultural museums, building a picture of America by republishing many of our most important books, most of which are manufactured in the United States. In addition to finding and printing interesting and unusual works, the company also partners with museums to reissue, create or distribute publications that fit the particular mission of the institution. In addition, Applewood distributes books published by a number of important historical museums, including the White House Historical Association, The New-York Historical Society and Peabody Essex Museum.

Glass Eye Studio ............................................ 17 Historical Folk Toys, LLC .............................. 37 IGES................................................................ 48 Indy Plush ...................................................... 30 Janet Egan Design ........................................ 13 Live Your Dream Designs.............................. 17 Maple Landmark Woodcraft ......................... 39 Mata Ortiz to You ........................................... 16 Messe Frankfurt ............................................ 47 Museum Store magazine ............................... 42 Opto International ........................................... 7 Rancho Park Publishing ............................... 37 RLT Industries ............................................... 11 The Rosen Group ............................................. 2 Solmate Socks ............................................... 37 Sunset Hill Stoneware................................... 43 TAM Retail (A Div. of Lode Data Systems) .... 15 Thames & Hudson ........................................... 9 Trü Protection................................................ 39 Windrose Trading Co. Inc... ........................... 27 43 For detailed contact information about any Museum Store advertiser, please visit and log in to the Member Directory. 46


RANCHO PARK PUBLISHING Chapel Hill, N.C. | (919) 942-9493 | Rancho Park Publishing, established in 1988, offers a fresh line of exceptional products for MSA members that was showcased at BookExpo America in New York this year. Featured here is an example of the stunning 3-D cards from MapCards in the Czech Republic. With an extensive range of designs available, the cards will complement your museum collections in the areas of astronomy, space exploration, natural history, aquariums, pets and zoos. The collection features 3-D postcards, calendars, rulers, magnets and posters. In addition, we offer extraordinary handblown Murano glass from Brazil, Ecco Serveware glass and unique North Carolina pottery from Sierra Terra Cotta. New lines are being added frequently, so do check back often.

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Museum Store Fall 2013  

The 2013 fall issue of Museum Store magazine includes informative articles about cemetery gift shops, innovative product development ideas,...