Mesa, EV museums have high hopes for next Sunday’s event The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa, EV museums have high hopes for next Sunday’s event

Mesa, EV museums have high hopes for next Sunday’s event

By Kristine Cannon
Tribune Staff Writer

After months of being shuttered, many museums have recently reopened their doors just in time for the annual international one-day shopping event called Museum Store Sunday.

Taking place Nov. 29, Museum Store Sunday encourage shoppers to support their local museums – many of which are in need of the public’s support.

Many East Valley and Scottsdale museum directors are hoping holiday shoppers will visit their stores next Sunday, not only for discounts on unique gift items but also because their revenue streams this year have been shattered by prolonged pandemic-driven closures.

“It is very important for patrons of the arts to support a museum or other cultural institutions during this pandemic,” said Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Assistant Retail Manager Raechel Miller.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts are two of six area museums participating in the event founded by the Colorado-based Museum Store Association.

“Most cultural institutions rely heavily on the day-to-day revenue of admission sales, donations, sales from their museum store and patrons becoming year to lifelong members,” Miller said.

Also participating in Scottsdale is Western Spirit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

SMoW Director and CEO Mike Fox calls Museum Store Sunday “critical” to the museum’s sustainability, as it was closed for seven months.

The museum “has continued to incur greater than $150,000 in operating expenses monthly with no earned income to help support the institution,” Fox said.

This year, Museum Store Sunday boasts more than 1,400 participating venues across all 50 states and D.C., 22 countries and five continents versus last year’s 1,200 participants.

“Whether online or in person, Museum Store Sunday is a wonderful opportunity for consumers around the world to shop local, support artisans and small suppliers, give back to the community, and find unique gifts for loved ones,” said Blue Anderson, president of the Museum Store Association board.

The Mesa Historical Museum, which will offer half-off items on Black Friday, has even more merchandise to offer this year both on Black Friday and Museum Store Sunday.

“We are also doing something unique: We are going to have a mini-boutique,” said Mesa Historical Museum Executive Director Susan Ricci.

The new mini-boutique offers an array of items such as vintage jewelry, gently used purses and scarves and boutique clothing donated by a local consignment store — all of which will be half-price, with nothing priced over $5.

“I owned and operated a small history museum several years ago, and we found that local people enjoyed having a variety of items. They weren’t looking for a museum souvenir; they enjoyed getting vintage purse and vintage jewelry,” Ricci said of her museum’s boutique.

“It was hugely successful,” she added. “The majority of our sales before we closed due to COVID-19 had been our vintage items.”

The Chandler Museum Store, which held its grand opening earlier this month, will feature locally made art pieces and will offer 10 percent off all purchases next Sunday.

Local author Kathy Peach will also perform a reading at 1:30 p.m. of her children’s book “The Tiniest Tumbleweed,” which can be purchased at the Chandler Museum Store.

“This is our first year participating in Museum Store Sunday, and we are looking forward to joining museums around the world in this effort to encourage shoppers to support their local museum stores,” said Jody Crago, director of the Chandler Museum.

Tempe History Museum is also taking part — but strictly online.

“Although the museum is currently closed to the public, we are developing an online store in partnership with Tempe History Society, said Brenda Abney, Tempe arts & culture manager and museum director.

New to the museum, the online store will include T-shirts, books on Tempe’s history, and a small selection of unique gift items available for purchase and pick-up.

“This is a new process for the museum, so we appreciate any feedback from shoppers and are willing to modify our process to accommodate needs,” Abney said.

Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum are also participating.

Not participating this year, however, are i.d.e.a. Museum in Mesa and the Frank Lloyd Wright Store at Taliesin West in Scottsdale.

Ricci said the pandemic was a double-wallop for the Mesa Historical Museum, which was closed for more than seven months and experienced an increase in suspended memberships.

“We didn’t have any membership renewals or donations. We had to cancel our largest fundraiser – our Historic Home Tour. We probably lost 30 percent in revenue,” Ricci said.

But just because a museum reopens its doors, doesn’t mean the bounce back is instantaneous.

“It’s very important!” Ricci said. “We are struggling like most other small museums. Being closed for over seven months really hurts financially when you have no admission or gift shop sales.”



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