“Don’t think of it as a museum shop, think of it as a store within a museum,” says chief retail strategist Maria Hemsley about the MIA’s retail revamp. When did museums start employing chief retail strategists? Only recently, in the case of the MIA, when it started to think of its retail space as less of a gift shop and more of a boutique.
Hemsley and co-strategist Ryan Ross’s strong corporate retail backgrounds informed the shift they’ve implemented from traditional museum souvenir selections to items that reflect a broader point of view. It’s more what you’d expect from a modern-art museum—fewer art T-shirts, in other words, and more chic home goods and jewelry.
Particularly striking are the Graf & Lantz handbags, serveware from old wine barrels, and hand-blown Italian glassware. Not everything from the previous era has gone: home-décor favorites from Chilewich, Umbra, and Lunaros remain, as well as art books from a variety of eras and styles. And the focus on products by local creators is welcome: Helen Wang jewelry, Kevin Kramp scarves, and YOXO 3-D puzzles for kids. “We love things that are usable art,” Hemsley adds.
The shop now is broad enough in scope to satisfy those looking for a standalone retail experience—it’s smart curation mirroring what’s inside the rest of the institute’s walls.
MIA Museum Shop
2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls.