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MUSEUM RETAIL INTERVENTION: THE POST-GENERIC SHOP


New York Magazine once said,                                                                                "Moss brokered the marriage of the store and the museum..."

 

Museums now occupy the world of the blockbuster, competing with each other for exhibitions and talent as well as  audiences, and competing with all other forms of entertainment for their customer’s attention, dollars and time. It has become essential that every department, including retail, provide maximum value to the Enterprise that a modern museum has become. Declining attendance, donor fatigue, siloed operations and dated technology complete the context for urgency of change in the museum world.

Moss Bureau offers museums a new retail paradigm, one that looks beyond fiduciary responsibility to position museum retail as a full partner with other departments through a specialized service that addresses all aspects of a retail operation. The process is both analytic and highly curatorial, focusing deeply on the attributes and opportunities provided by the museum. This bespoke approach to both merchandise and presentation renders the ubiquitous generic shop obsolete. The Post-Generic museum store has a proprietary branded identity and is a platform for both extending the museum's mission and driving higher sales revenue.

Since 2013, Moss Bureau has been in the field working with museums across the country. With some we analyze and recommend, and with others we follow through to a full implementation. This work has led to a refinement of our methods and expectations of what can reasonably be accomplished in the real world context of donor politics, shifting priorities, capital campaigns for expansion, and myriad demands on time and money.  

To date we have worked with the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the High Museum Atlanta, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Jewish Museum, New York. Work with the latter two is ongoing.

Notes, examples and reviews below:

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MUSEUM RETAIL INTERVENTION: THE POST-GENERIC SHOP


New York Magazine once said,                                                                                "Moss brokered the marriage of the store and the museum..."

 

Museums now occupy the world of the blockbuster, competing with each other for exhibitions and talent as well as  audiences, and competing with all other forms of entertainment for their customer’s attention, dollars and time. It has become essential that every department, including retail, provide maximum value to the Enterprise that a modern museum has become. Declining attendance, donor fatigue, siloed operations and dated technology complete the context for urgency of change in the museum world.

Moss Bureau offers museums a new retail paradigm, one that looks beyond fiduciary responsibility to position museum retail as a full partner with other departments through a specialized service that addresses all aspects of a retail operation. The process is both analytic and highly curatorial, focusing deeply on the attributes and opportunities provided by the museum. This bespoke approach to both merchandise and presentation renders the ubiquitous generic shop obsolete. The Post-Generic museum store has a proprietary branded identity and is a platform for both extending the museum's mission and driving higher sales revenue.

Since 2013, Moss Bureau has been in the field working with museums across the country. With some we analyze and recommend, and with others we follow through to a full implementation. This work has led to a refinement of our methods and expectations of what can reasonably be accomplished in the real world context of donor politics, shifting priorities, capital campaigns for expansion, and myriad demands on time and money.  

To date we have worked with the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the High Museum Atlanta, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Jewish Museum, New York. Work with the latter two is ongoing.

Notes, examples and reviews below:

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MAIN SHOP - MFAH


MAIN SHOP - MFAH


MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS HOUSTON

Moss Bureau was hired by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in the autumn of 2014 to do a thorough analysis of the museum's retail operation. Upon submission of the report, Moss Bureau was contracted to implement its recommendations. This took place during the summer and fall of 2015. 

We will be continuing our collaboration into 2018, including ongoing refinements to the shop merchandising, as well as recommendations and implementation of modular Exhibition Shops and also an online shop.

Click on this link to download the full Case Study for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston: 

MOSS BUREAU CASE STUDY MFAH

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MFAH SHOP 'TIFFANY' WINDOW


MFAH SHOP 'TIFFANY' WINDOW


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MFAH SHOP 'TIFFANY' WINDOW


MFAH SHOP 'TIFFANY' WINDOW


 

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MFAH 'TRAFALGAR' DISPLAY CASE


MFAH 'TRAFALGAR' DISPLAY CASE


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MFAH 'TRAFALGAR' DISLAY CASE


MFAH 'TRAFALGAR' DISLAY CASE


"..a paradise for design lovers...perfect closure after touring one of the most important museums in the US."
               -- VOGUE MEXICO 2.03.17
 
"(The MFAH has)...one of the most cleverly curated museum shops in America."                
— Andrew Ferren New York Times, 2.11.15
 
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'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


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'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


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'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


'BONNET' DISPLAY CASE


 
"It’s not just a more pleasant shopping experience, it’s the beginning of a conversation about the role of retail in a cultural institution – is it just about sales, or should it reflect the works elsewhere in the building? The new MFAH shop shows that in the rights hands, it can be all of the above."
     — Susan Rufca, Houstonia, 11.17.15
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MFAH MAIN SHOP WINDOW: THEME IS COLOR


MFAH MAIN SHOP WINDOW: THEME IS COLOR


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MFAH MAIN SHOP WINDOW: THEME IS IMAGINATION


MFAH MAIN SHOP WINDOW: THEME IS IMAGINATION


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Warhol statement


Warhol statement


PHILIP JOHNSON GLASS HOUSE

In 2013 Moss Bureau was contracted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to analyze and recommend changes to the retail operation of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT. 

Given the limited financial means of the Glass House, Moss Bureau undertook a surgical approach to change. What we saw was in fact a workable space, with usable fixturing and lighting requiring minimal modification which we believed would have a tremendous impact on the look and flow of the space. Through a process of elimination, we imposed a rigor using what remained, making the space dramatically cleaner and certainly more sympathetic to the Johnson House. We added a Narrative to the shop itself, connecting the merchandise to Mr. Johnson's 1934 ground breaking exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Machine Art. The shop and its contents became a true and valid extension of the profound thinking of Philip Johnson. 

Click on this link to download the full Case Study for the Glass House:

MOSS BUREAU CASE STUDY GLASS HOUSE

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Philip Johnson Glass House


Philip Johnson Glass House


"The Glass House Design Store is one of the five Best Museum Gift Shops".                                                                                                  —Wall Street Journal, 12.20.13

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Philip Johnson Glass House


Philip Johnson Glass House


All our brilliant work would come to nothing if there weren't people on site who got it and were not only totally able to carry on with the program but actually improve on it as time goes by. At the Glass House, the store manager, Crista Bazoian, became our partner. She was so enthusiastic, in fact, she decided to do her Master's Thesis on Murray. See it here.  This was, in our opinion, above and beyond.