The recent renovation at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery gave us chance to review all aspects of our service including the gift shop. These days, most museums and art galleries have really great shops where you can purchase souvenirs that reflect the unique character of the place, as well as raise some revenue. Funded by the Arts Council and guided by retail expert Polly Redman, we decided to embark on an enterprise of our own.
I started by collecting an assortment of images from the collections and asked my colleagues which ones appealed to them from a retail perspective. Our marketing advisor, Jen Francis, quickly pointed out that what the museum staff liked might be different from what the majority of the public liked, which was a good point; we can be a bit geeky! Most of the team agreed that we could not go wrong with the museum bear; a fierce character from the old Wonders of the Peak display that seems to have become Buxton Museum’s unofficial mascot. The many fans of the bear will be pleased to know that you can now get the furry guy on a postcard, a mug, a bag and a t-shirt.
Some of the other images we thought our visitors might like have ended up on postcards, coasters, scarfs, tea towels water bottles and lens cloths. Of course, the ultimate gift shop would be one where you can have any image you like printed on any product you like and we will work towards this ideal in the future. Until then, I hope you will come in and have a look at the gift shop. There’s a museum and art gallery attached!