Category: Retail

International Exchange Programme 2020

From the Association of Cultural Enterprises:

Applications are now open for our fully subsidised international exchange programme, a partnership between the Association for Cultural Enterprises and Museum Store Association (MSA).

This is your chance to attend and deliver a session at MSA Forward in Cleveland, Ohio on 23-27 April 2020, with return flights and three hotel nights included.

The successful candidate will be required to present a 60 minute session at MSA Forward 2020, as well as write two blog posts.

The exchange programme offers a unique opportunity to make new international contacts, enhance your professional development, and promote your organisation overseas. Our 2019 recipient, Louise Kirby, Director of Operations & People at The Deep, found it a hugely rewarding experience – read about Louise’s experience here.

Your proposed session must meet the following criteria:

  • Presents a topic or case study that demonstrates thought leadership in museum retail
  • Presents an innovative project or a solution to a common museum retail issue
  • Presents a topic commercially relevant with educational value, including real-life experience

All applications must be received by Friday 30 August 2019. Please note you must be a Full Member of the Association for Cultural Enterprises to apply.

For details on how to apply, click here.

Bursaries For The Association for Cultural Enterprises Conference 2019

The Association for Cultural Enterprises is offering five free bursary places for smaller museums for their ACE2019 Conference & Trade Show in Brighton on 28th February & 1st March.

The bursaries cover two full days’ attendance, including all conference sessions, refreshments and Gala Dinner, accommodation and travel. They are available to organisations that are Full Members of the Association and received fewer than 50,000 visitors in the last full year.

Museum Shop Sunday

Sunday 25th November 2018 

From the Association of Cultural Enterprises:

Museum Shop Sunday has become known as a day to enjoy fun events and buy special Christmas gifts at cultural venues all over the world. All types of cultural institutions can take part, and it’s a great chance to attract new audiences to your shop.

To help get as much press coverage as possible we’re asking you to tell us about your plans for the big day and share images of your products. To get started visit our website, where you’ll find advice and resources including our new marketing toolkit with logos, banners and poster templates.

If you’re new to Museum Shop Sunday, our 7 Steps to Success blog post is a great place to start. Over 600 cultural venues worldwide took part in 2017, with many reporting increased sales and footfall.  

Find out more on the ACE website.

Association of Cultural Enterprises North West Talking Shop

Monday 16th April
Salford Museum and Art Gallery
10:00 – 15:00

The Talking Shops are retail forums, where delegates come together to share sales and KPI information, to discuss retail trends and issues affecting business, and to share good retail practice.

Anyone working in retail within a cultural venue, is welcome to come to the meetings. 

You don’t have to be a member of ACE and you don’t have to have attended the Retail Resilience Programme. It is free to attend, and lunch is provided – and it’s an informal and friendly gathering!

At the meeting on 16th April, ACE will run through the sales figures of each organisation represented (checklist here, to print and complete and bring to the meeting).

They will also have a talk from K3, about how Epos systems can help you to manage your stock, provide essential sales information, and generally make life easier for your retail operation.

Places are limited, so please book your free place online at this link as soon as possible, so they can confirm our catering order.

This is a great opportunity to meet other people working in cultural retail, and to discuss relevant topics and benchmark your sales.

Click here for directions to the meeting venue

Consultancy Opportunity: Bolton Museum

Improving our Commercial Offer

The brief

Bolton Museum is undergoing a major redevelopment project which will transform the Egypt, Art and Nature galleries to appropriately and effectively showcase our collections and create a unique visitor experience. The redevelopment of the Egyptology galleries will create a journey through Egyptian life to showcase our world famous collections. The project will include a facsimile copy of Thutmose III tomb which will be the only one of its kind in the UK. The galleries are currently under construction and will be complete in 2018.

Bolton is well known for its significant Egyptology collection and since the establishment of the museum in its first home at Chadwick Museum it has grown a rich and varied collection of artefacts.

As part of the capital project we want to take the opportunity to maximise the potential of a new shop space and venue hire for commercial events.

Bolton museum service is commissioning this piece of work to:

  • Gain an understanding about how to configure the new shop to maximise display space
  • Develop retail lines appropriate to our visitor demographic
  • Train staff to equip them with retail knowledge to enable us to maintain the shop and provide a successful and consistent income stream
  • Explore the potential of our spaces for events hire and ensure we are equipped to offer a professional and well organised service.
  • Maximise our potential as an events hire venue during a time of strong investment from businesses in the town.


The successful consultant will deliver the following outputs:

  1. Recommendations for planning, marketing and delivering successful event hire
  2. A report outlining the best use of shop space and gallery space for events hire
  3. Training for staff around selecting appropriate product lines including bespoke products, effective marketing and display and maintaining stock.


The budget is £4500 inclusive of expenses


Tender showing relevant experience to be submitted by 23 June 2017
Interviews will be held week beginning 10 July 2017
Training and advice sessions to take place between July and November 2017
Report to be produced by 29 January 2018

Submit your tender to:

Phone 01204 332731 for further information

Retail in Museums – is a new 10 part series dedicated to the heritage retail sector, offering expert advice, ideas and insights on how to make your museum or gallery shop the very best it can be. The series showcases a variety of inspirational case studies, with learnings applicable to every heritage retail environment. Each episode is accompanied by handy downloadable guides on key topics such as buying, visual merchandising and finance. The series has been produced by the Association for Cultural Enterprises (ACE) as part of its Retail Resilience Programme funded by the Arts Council. Episodes 1 and 2 are available to watch now at the link below, with the remaining 8 episodes to follow over the coming weeks.

ACE North West Region Retail Forum

National Football Museum, Manchester
Tuesday 14th February
10.30am to 3.00pm with signing in from 10.00am
Refreshments and lunch will be provided

This retail forum, hosted by the National Football Museum on behalf of ACE is open to all who offer retailing in a cultural or heritage environment.

This day will include case studies and the opportunity to hear about the Retail Resilience Programme. You will be able to network with others involved in retail in museums and come away with ideas you will be able to implement at your museum. You can also be part of the planning for future sessions.

For the full programme please click here

If you have any queries, please contact Desi Evangelides on , Jane Goode (on behalf of ACE) or Alison Mcgrath (Chair)on 

ACE Convention & Trade Show

Edinburgh, 14 & 15 March 2017

This year’s ACE Convention will be bursting with inspiring ideas to engage your visitors and maximise your revenue. As well as a vibrant trade show and unmissable networking opportunities, you’ll enjoy a fantastic programme of seminars from expert speakers including:

·         Jessica McGarry, Royal Collection Trust

·         Genevieve Sioka, National Trust

·         Lycia Lobo, Ashmolean

·         Davide de Matteis, Science Museum Group

·         Cathy Snow, Royal Horticultural Society

·         Rebecca Foy, Bletchley Park Trust

·         Clare Skinner, MCC

·         Stuart Hata, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The highlight will be the Gala Dinner in the magnificent Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland, featuring the ACE Best Product Awards and of course a traditional Scottish ceilidh.

Book now and save 30%

To find out more and book your place visit:

Let’s Get Real 2016

Thursday 27th October
The Whitworth, Manchester

From Culture 24:

How can arts and heritage organisations get better at recognising, articulating and generating value from online cultural retail?

It’s a hot topic as public funding is squeezed and we look for new income streams and business models that align with our cultural offer. But online cultural retail is about more than just generating financial value. What we sell and package influences how our audiences engage with us. The way we approach new product development challenges the way we think about our overall offer, our brand and our purpose.
People want experiences with soul and products with a story – for the cultural sector this is part of our DNA. We are the envy of many commercial retailers struggling to invent their own story and the rich image-led nature of our work lends itself perfectly to online engagement and sharability. But how can we respond to the behaviours of today’s audiences and reinvent our offer online? What new products, services, markets are realistic for us? Can we find a sweet spot between culture and commerce? Is it all just hype or can we grow this in sustainable ways?

Join us for a day of keynotes, conversations, critique and provocations, mixed for the first time, with a fabulous late night happening throughout the Whitworth as part of our Museums at Night festival.

For more information and to book a place visit the conference website

Also looking at unique retail ventures run by some museums is John Orna-Ornstein’s latest blog post looking at the idea of the Commercial Curator.

ACE Masterclass: Marketing for Retailers

A Marketing Plan in a Day
Friday 23rd September 2016
People’s History Museum Manchester

This course is for commercial staff who want to learn more about marketing in order to increase their sales and profit. Delivered by freelance marketing and organisational development consultant Adam Lumb.

The Masterclass is designed to ‘workshop’ a specific commercial challenge that you have at work and provide you with the marketing tools and techniques to address it.

At the end of the masterclass you will:

  • Understand what marketing is and have cleared away the myths and nonsense
  • Possess the marketing skills and knowledge to drive forward your part of the business
  • Know when you might need the support of the marketing department and what you can do yourself
  • Walk away with the relevant marketing model or tool relevant to your business challenge which has been completed during the Masterclass ready to apply back in the office.

Those enrolling will need to specify the commercial challenge they are trying to solve in advance of the workshop. It is suited to retailers and online retailers in commercial departments. 

Find out more, download the programme and book a place at:

Member – £180.00
Non-member – £300.00

Adam Lumb has held a number of senior positions in the cultural sector in both marketing departments and commercial departments and provides insight into both. He has worked across nearly every art form from national to regional museums and galleries, to the BBC, to video gaming and theatre in both the public and private sector. Adam is currently the Head of Commercial Development at the Royal Armouries, The National Museum of Arms and Armour.