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“Museum Store” sales can often be an underrated channel of support for Minnesota’s local history organizations. In the 2005 survey MHS (read the results on page 4-6) asked about income and expenses at local historical organizations in Minnesota. There were 105 that reported operating a museum store. Only two lost money, and those amounts were very small, and may have been due to when stock was purchased. Profitability often depends on when the question is asked.

Here are some more results from the 2005 survey:

  • Range of net sales was $7 to $157,175
  • Average net sales was $6,063
  • Expense from purchasing stock ranged from $0 to $102,466
  • Total cost in 2005 for store stock was $425,463
  • Average cost for the same store stock was $4,212

Mary brought up a good point about rethinking what’s offered at a museum store. Are “trinkets and doodads” a good way to go? How well do $50 books sell? How do you gear your museum store’s offerings to your public?

Here are some further thoughts about museum stores from the Museum Store Association website.

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