museums&MORE Summer 2009
The Store Room

How would you define a ‘souvenir’ and what are the best-selling souvenirs in your store? What makes them so popular?”

Bob Wolz
Harry S. Truman Little White House SHS
Key West, Fla.

In the broadest sense, it’s any item purchased from the museum that gives our guests a fond memory of the site. It can be a book, but we emboss a museum seal on the front plate so it isn’t just a book — it becomes a very special book.

It could be a museum reproduction of an item from our collections. We have reproductions of books of matches, playing cards and campaign buttons, so they don’t have to be expensive. We do have the usual items that fit in a suitcase and have our name, logo or unique design — everything from magnets to mugs to T-shirts. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, and our goal is to make sure they take something home.

Kathie Kudela
Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC)
Niagara Falls, N.Y.

A souvenir is a tangible item that evokes memories for the purchaser. Key chains, cards, T-shirts and pens are popular on the less expensive side. Original artwork, hand-decorated clothing, large prints and books are popular on the more expensive side.

Connie G. Lange
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
Dixon, Ill.

I believe that a souvenir is anything that a visitor chooses to take home as a reminder of their experience. The best ones are generally something simple that evoke a memorable moment or place months, or even years, after the visit.

Our top-selling items here are bookmarks with a photo of the Boyhood Home, photos of Ronald Reagan as a teenaged lifeguard, suitable for framing, and copies of the Stand Up Reagan DVD, which we run whenever we are open in the reception room at our Visitor Center. Books are always great souvenirs and we sell many copies of “The History of the Reagan Home” by a local author. This is the only place to purchase it and it continues the stories that our tour guides share with guests.

As we look forward to the yearlong celebrations honoring President Reagan’s 100th birthday in 2011, we are researching additional items that will provide that same memory-jogging effect.

Christopher Blackburn
Seven Seas Gifts
Brookfield, Ill.

Pretty much anything name-dropped sells best. For younger folks, the most popular items are personalized mugs, key chains and necklaces.

Judy Herndon
Penny Pincher’s
Rockport, Texas

It’s an item that is a constant reminder of the good memories you enjoyed while on vacation in that particular area.

One of our best-selling souvenirs is a colorful pen with the name of our city and the individuals name imprinted. People young and old like to see their name in print. We recently put in the keychain/hook with the individual names/nicknames imprinted, and it has been very well received, with people buying two, three or four of them at a time.

Nancy Clark
South Florida Baptist Hospital
Plant City, Fla.

Every year the town has a big Strawberry Festival. To go along with this event we try to stock many strawberry items — bags, jewelry, angels, ceramics, candles—anything with a strawberry motif seems to do well here, but especially during the Strawberry Festival.”

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