Springboard Retail Customer Update: Philadelphia Museum of Art opens a new main store designed by Frank Gehry and introduces original collaborations with locally-based artisans and businesses. Check out their full announcement below to learn more about their innovative transition to experiential retail.
This article was originally published on the PMA website on September 18, 2019 and can be read here.
Among the amenities visitors will discover inside the newly-opened North Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a new Main Store, which greets them from the lobby and extends alongside the Vaulted Walkway. Designed by Frank Gehry, it offers an adventurous shopping experience at street level, with a variety of new merchandise that celebrates the museum's history and spotlights the creativity of Philadelphia's emerging artisans. Fine jewelry, ceramics, crafts, and art supplies, as well as an expanded children's section that includes books and creative games, make the Main Store a destination for people of all ages and interests.
Creative collaborations with locally based businesses and fine artisans reflect an important emphasis of the new Main Store. One example, the historic Shane Chocolate Works and Confectionery company, has created a one-of-a-kind Dark-Milk Chocolate with Salty Pretzels candy bar packaged in wrappers that illustrate the signature fluted columns of the museum's neoclassical design. The bars are offered exclusively at the museum and at Shane's in Old City, with Shane donating a portion of sales toward the museum's mission. Additionally, the museum has partnered with Blackwing pencil makers to develop an exclusive and limited-edition set of gold-colored pencils inspired by the statue of Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the Great Stair Hall. It will be featured in The Pencil Bar, located in the center of the store where shoppers can try out over 50 pencils from around the world, as well as other high-quality artist tools, notebooks, and sketchbooks (prices vary).
As with The Pencil Bar, much of the merchandise is themed, and displayed in dedicated sections throughout the Main Store. One section, The Heritage Shop, celebrates the Philadelphia Museum of Art's past, present and future with items inspired by research in the museum's archives. An image of the iconic griffin, a creature from classical mythology known to guard treasures, that figured in the museum's logo circa 1938, now adorns t-shirts, mugs, and handbags (prices vary). Another vintage design includes soft cotton t-shirts that feature the "A" bus route signage that was hand-painted on walls of the Vaulted Walkway generations ago, and still remains.
Another section is called Philly Made and showcases the talent of Philadelphia's vibrant arts community. Visitors can find decorative vases cast from vintage glass bottles by ceramic artist Melissa Koenig ($25-98), as well as handmade earrings, rings and necklaces by jewelry makers Anastasia Filanovich and Marcie McGoldrick (prices range from $39-$675). The store is also showcasing work by Kristin Buck, ceramicist; Sophy DiPinto, bookbinder; Peg & Awl, artisan product designers; Hemlock & Hyde, leather smiths; and As the Crow Flies & Co, jewelry makers, among others.
The new kids section includes children's books specially selected by the museum's Education team, plus a hands-on table where kids can try a wonderful variety of artmaking supplies and games from France, Germany, and Japan. Additionally, the Kids Cube features over 30 fun finds for the museum's youngest visitors, all priced at $10 or below.
Bauhaus-inspired products are offered in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the school. Geometric-shaped jewelry crafted from glass beads made in Germany in the 1920s nod to Bauhaus aesthetics, as well as products inspired by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, including postcard reproductions of the original lithograph invitation sent out to announce the first Bauhaus exhibition of 1923. Nearby, other merchandise highlights Impressionism and East Asian Art, major strengths of the collection.
The store also offers Art on Demand, a digital kiosk that enables visitors to select high-quality digital reproductions of masterpieces and have them printed to order. Among the offerings are museum favorites by Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Thomas Eakins, Claude Monet, and Henri Rousseau, among others. Prints are available in a variety of sizes, paper, and frames ($25-375). At home, shop Art on Demand by visiting artondemand.philamuseum.org.
Christine Doobinin, the museum's recently-appointed Director of Retail, said: "Whether visitors are looking for a simple memento to take home or want to browse a curated selection of unique designs crafted by Philadelphia artisans, we believe there is something here for everyone to discover. Not only will visitors find that the Main Store has a beautiful new look, but so too does most of our merchandise. Over 60 percent of the products have never been seen before in our store, and many are exclusive to the museum."
The design of the new Main Store reflects Frank Gehry's fine touch. Visitors may enter through the two monumental Tiffany doors, historic to the museum and newly conserved, that Gehry has placed at the threshold of the store. He has also opened a row of windows that invite views into the Vaulted Walkway and capture daylight. Other contemporary touches by the architect include red oak flooring and Douglas fir and bronze finishes on the cashier's desk, which echo the architect's finishes in the recently opened dining services Stir and the Café on the first floor. Shoppers may access the new Main Store via the North Entrance without paying museum admission, which is required for visits to the galleries. The previous space of the Main Store, on the first floor of the museum, is undergoing renovation to make way for new galleries dedicated to early American art that are scheduled to open when the Core Project is complete next year.
Other shopping locations at the museum include the Special Exhibition store, which features products inspired by temporary exhibitions, as well as the pop-up store on the East Balcony in the Main Building, and the stores in the Perelman Building and the Rodin Museum. In 2020, the museum will also open two new locations on either side of Lenfest Hall as part of the Core Project. Visitors can shop online anytime by visiting: philamuseum.org/visit/shopping.
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