museums&MORE Spring 2019
Museum stores of all types and sizes can benefit from MSA membership

{Sponsored} When it comes to training, networking and support for retailers who work in non-profit institutions, a Museum Store Association (MSA) membership can’t be beaten. We spoke to three museum store managers about their experience as MSA members. Here’s what they had to say.


Amanda Schultz manages nine small museum stores with annual visitors ranging from 10,000 to 80,000 a year. Schultz’s predecessors joined MSA years before she stepped into store leadership.

After seven years with the Wisconsin Historical Society, Schultz recognizes the strength the MSA brings to her organization. “Not a lot of people I work with can necessarily help me do my job as well as the MSA has. There is great value in the training and information I’ve gained from connecting with other industry professionals,” she said. “The MSA helps train me in different ways to operate our stores, from a financial perspective as well as a creative and artistic perspective.”

Schultz leverages ShopTalk for everything from finding a snow globe provider with the lowest minimum order to customer service training for her teams. She strongly encourages any museum store manager with the opportunity to attend a chapter meeting or national conference to get started.


The Museum of Flight hosts over half a million visitors annually from around the globe. They offer educational programs and private events. Their variety of visitors means Christensen has to cater to many audiences in her museum store.

When Christensen joined the merchandising team at the Museum of Flight in 1996, the store was already an MSA member. After being promoted to management two years later, MSA provided the training, financial and staff management resources and networking Christensen needed to succeed in her new position.

“The MSA introduced me to a wide network of peers who gave me insight from their own experience to help me make good decisions and benchmark our progress against the work of other institutions,” she said. “As we grew enough to delve into product development, MSA was the best place to find vendors who could work with low minimums and consistently offer the best quality in product, which was tremendous in launching our growth.”

Christensen also noted that it doesn’t matter what size museum a store is in: every museum store manager needs to be nimble and have access to the knowledge that makes a museum store successful. In a constantly changing industry, museum store professionals need to keep up with the best practices and provide an extraordinary experience for visitors. The MSA is vital in helping Christensen meet the high standards of museum retail.


The National Gallery of Art (NGA) is a large museum with over 5 million visitors annually. It’s so large that it has four stores. Barbara Lenhardt oversees retail for the Gallery. The Gallery caters to local visitors as well as people from across the globe.

“I joined the MSA not really knowing what I was in for. I went to a chapter meeting and was astounded how open people were in sharing information about products, problems and helping solve them, and in general sharing things that as a traditional retailer in my prior career, I never would have imagined possible,” she said.

Since museum stores do not compete with one another, it means that the managers are in a unique position where they can share best practices and vendors and help each other grow.

Lenhardt utilizes ShopTalk to get answers right at her fingertips. She helps out others by responding to questions or she follows others if she’d like to see what her peers say about a topic. She also attends the MSA conferences — and has only missed one since 2004.

“The payoff for attending MSA conferences is immeasurable. And it doesn’t matter how big your store is or how long you’ve been in business or where you are in your career: there is always a benefit to networking. You can’t come up with all the ideas, so being actively involved in the MSA exposes you to so many things all the time,” Lenhardt said.

About the Museum Store Association (MSA)

The Museum Store Association is a 501(c)3 international organization with the mission of advancing the non-profit retail industry, its museum stores, and the success of the professionals engaged in it. MSA offers educational information and programs throughout the year culminating in an annual conference and trade show highlighting the best in the industry. By advocating for and encouraging high standards of curated products, knowledge, and professionalism, MSA helps museum stores and their non-profit retail professionals better serve their institutions and the public.

Visit to find information about:

  • Membership
  • Chapter Events
  • MSA FORWARD Annual Retail Conference & Expo
  • Museum Store Sunday®


Museum Store Association (MSA) Logo

© 2019 Museum Store Association

Social Connections

Are you a fan of Gift Shop® Plus? Then you'll love our reader service platform! It's easy to use and completely free, so don't miss out on the chance to find out more about any product featured in an issue. #giftshop #modernretailer #magazine #fallseason #falltrends #retailtrends #Retailer ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Gift Shop Plus Fall 2023
Get one year of Gift Shop Plus in both print and digital editions for just $16.

Interested in reading the print edition of Gift Shop Plus?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs