The days of museum shops being standalone spaces are in the past and as we shall see from the following three case studies, they can work as a shop window to the wider museum and provide valuable interaction with the visitor.

The importance of museum shops is being recognised at next year’s Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence with a new award for Best Shop, which will celebrate best practice in museum and heritage retailing. There will actually be two awards, one for Best Shop with a turnover of less than £500k and one for Best Shop with a turnover of more than £500k.

Judges will be looking not only at profit but the entire retail operation over the past year with the award honouring the most innovative retailers in the sector. The criteria for entrants asks for turnover and profit figures as well as percentage profit increase on the museum shop’s previous year, if relevant. “As well as this we want you to demonstrate how your shop is on brand and how it contributes effectively to your organisation’s mission,” says Museums + Heritage Director, Anna Preedy. “We would like to hear how effectively your shop acts as a window for the museum and its narrative.  Your shop can be permanent, temporary or online or a combination of all three. In all instances the judges will be looking for impressive results as well as considering the overall customer experience.”

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