This Nov. 26 marks the first Museum Store Sunday, the Museum Store Association’s antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Honolulu Museum of Art Shops—at its main location on Beretania Street and at Spalding House in Makiki Heights—are two of almost 500 museum stores across the country (in every state and D.C!) participating. Shoppers will get 10 percent off at the register and shoppers who are museum members will get an additional 10 percent off on top of that.
The day is about more than generating sales—its goal is to educate the public about the role museum stores play in funding the institutions that house them. Museum retail operations are not just gift shops.
That’s why the day’s motto is “Be a Patron”—spending money in a museum shop supports the museum and its mission. “Any money earned in museum stores goes directly back to support the educational programs, the exhibitions, and collection maintenance,” says Stuart Hata, chair of the Museum Store Association’s marketing and communications committee and director of retail operations for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (who also happens to be from Mānoa Valley and makes sure to stop at our shop every time he comes home to visit). “We realize that people might not know what a museum store is. We need to answer that basic question.”
So skip the big-box madness and pick up some thoughtful, well-designed, and well-crafted gifts at the museum instead. Every time you buy even a notecard, your are helping a student go on a free school tour, helping a curator organize a future exhibition, or helping to conserve a painting.