Okay, I admit it. I am a complete philistine. But surely I’m not the only one who leaves museums craving some quirky something or other I saw in the gift shop rather than a tasteful piece of art to hang on my walls… Am I?
I used to think I was alone. But now I’ve seen the light. No, I haven’t joined some ‘Museum Gift Shop Addicts Anonymous’ group. I’ve been introduced to the wonderful world of Culture Label so I can indulge my love for museum shop goodies whilst presenting an intelligent and cultured facade inside museum walls.
Culture Label is an online store showcasing an edit of the products currently available from over 70 museum shops, galleries, artists and cultural institutions around the world. Among those whose products feature are the Tate, the V&A Museum, the Saatchi Gallery and Tatty Devine, to name but a few. The unique and fabulous products featured in their online store encompass everything from women’s fashion to children’s toys.
Their mission is to plant ‘cultural shopping’ in the mind of every consumer looking to find that perfect purchase. I don’t know if I’ve found my ideal purchase yet, but I certainly plan to have fun trying! Here’s a selection of my favourites to give you a taster of what awaits;
Philip Treacy's limited edition deckchair; A solar-powered waving Queen Liz; David Shrigly's unorthodox salt and pepper shakers; A reproduction old-school telephone from The Imperial War Museum; Special 'Wake Me Up' signs for the London UndergroundHowever, momentarily putting shopping aside, Culture Label is an enterprise with a mission. The discrepancy between audience expectations and allocated budgets in these straitened times is an unfortunate reality which cannot always be filled by funding and sponsorship. To fulfil audience needs, museums and arts organisations need to generate income. By creating a platform through which museums can increase their income, Culture Label is also providing an excellent public service. For example, in just six months, they managed to double the Museum of London’s sales by 50%. Having begun life as a retail platform, Culture Label also supports arts organisations trying to generate income and plans to extend into areas such as mobile apps for those who can’t reach exhibitions and e-tickets whilst continuing to develop revenue streams for the UK arts sector.
So, shop away with your conscience clear! You’ll never visit a museum shop again. Although… I see the Caixa Forum in Madrid isn’t featured. Now there’s a museum shop – I mean museum – that’s worth a visit!
Find out more on the CultureLabel site. You can also find out the latest news on the CL blog and follow Culture Label on Twitter @CultureLabel.