Industry Mini Dive: Museums

museum mini dive banner

I am a museum nerd. I love museums. I love big museums, small museums, art museums, and natural history museums. There’s something so cool about seeing a piece of artwork painted by Michelangelo or seeing the skeleton of a T-Rex up close and personal. What does that have to do with promotional products?

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers!

museum graph 3

But what exactly makes up that number? Is it just ticket sales? Of course not, or we wouldn’t be writing about it! You already know where this is going…

museum graph 2

Basically, one in every two people who visit a museum looks forward to visiting the gift shop!

And obviously we go for the exhibits, but I think we can all agree that museum gift shops are why we stay. I mean, I spent probably a good 30 to 40 minutes in the gift shop at NASA in Houston. Just look at this absolutely insane wall of patches!

NASA patch wall
So. Many. Patches.

Gift shops are an integral part of any museum. Ticket sales can only go so far, and in the case of the Smithsonian – admission is free. Gift shops allow the museum to make money and fund things like building and exhibit upkeep, acquiring new specimens, conservation efforts, storage, and salaries for staff. Without gift shop sales supplementing grants from universities or private funds, the world’s history would be in danger of being forgotten and lost.

Not to mention the travel and tourism industry would suffer. Just look at the top ten most visited museums in 2022. Have you been to any of these?

museum graph 1
Have you been to any of these museums?

So, what kind of promotional products can you offer your local museums? Well, stickers, lapel pins, keychains, and the usual suspects like t-shirts, totes, and mugs are all great ideas. These are also particularly good ideas if the museum is looking to start a membership program and wishes to provide its members something special for their support and donations.

If your customer has the means and the budget, replicas of some of the items on display would be an amazing item to pitch too, kind of like what the British History Museum did with the Rosetta Stone. High-quality photos of the items or artwork that the museum houses made into prints and postcards also become collector’s items for those who cannot afford to bring home a replica.

britishmuseumshoponline.org

They even have a tiny little snowglobe replica!

rosetta stone snow globe
britishmuseumshoponline.org

While the possibilities are endless, here are a few of our favorite ideas that might be worthwhile to explore:

1. Shorties Stuffed Animals

Item# CT838
IMAGEN Brands
SAGE# 57540

Shorties come in so many different animals – it was hard to choose a favorite to feature! The little shirt is perfect for a museum logo, and these little guys would be great for both science and natural history museums.

2. Ambassador™ Journal

journal
Item# AMB-58FC
JournalBooks
SAGE# 50031

Journals, and especially sketchbooks, are an ideal feature for any museum. They would also make a great giveaway for students on field trips to take notes and sketches!

3. Pennants

pennant
Item# PENN100L
Pop! Promos
SAGE# 69501

Who doesn’t love a good felt pennant with some really cool artwork on it? This kind of a promo will stand out from a normal poster or print and makes for an interesting conversation piece!

Museums are essential to our communities – preserving our past is important to our future, and the promotional products industry can help! Do you have any museum gift shop clients and if so, what are their most requested promo items? Tell us in the comments below!

Also, did you know that we have other mini dives on various industries? Check them out here!

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(Marketing Content Writer)

Betty is the Marketing Content Writer at SAGE. She is a self-proclaimed, bonafide nerd, and when she's not writing, you can find her playing video games, watching documentaries, hunting for heavy metal records, and going down rabbit-holes on Wikipedia.

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