Products based on special collections - National Library of New Zealand
Memory institutions that develop products based on special collections can quite easily offer
them online. A prerequisite for this commercial channel to be successful is to actively estab-
lish a brand and market the products or rather the appreciation for unique historical or even
contemporary cultural heritage. Being renowned for special exhibitions and carefully
selected and contextualised objects will surely add much to the brand.
An illustrative example is the National Library of New Zealand that provides online
ordering and payment (credit card) of publications and reproductions.The catalogue
includes books and serials, cards, exhibition catalogues and related publications, posters, and
music on CD.The impressive list includes for example: Greeting cards based on works of
Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947), drawings from the French 1769-1846 New Zealand
Exhibition, or modern artwork by New Zealand children's book illustrators. Music on CD:
The Treasures in Sound He Puiaki Puoru collection features some of New Zealand's most
rare and treasured voices from the past, taken largely from the famous Alexander Turnbull
A big "do it yourself" museum shop Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
This gift shop is based on Yahoo! Store. Since its launch in 1999 the online gift shop team
referred to it as the "throw-away solution", because it wants to have a more advanced
solution (e.g. to integrate the inventory).Yet it also has learned that the affilation with
"Yahoo! Shopping" and its other tousands mechants (8000 in 1999) "seems to bring in
quite a bit of traffic and sales." (Getchell, LaKind, 2000) The Museum projected revenues for
2000 of $2,4 million from online retail and membership sales; in the second half of 1999 it
generated ca. $1 million [gross] (cf. QUEST, 2000, 41)
Sources: <http://www.mfa.org/shop/> and <http://www.archimuse.com/mw2000/papers/getchell/getchell.html> that gives a very illustrative
description of the development of this online museum shop.
For adventurous minds The National Geographic Store
The National Geographic Society is the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational
organisation, with the overall mission "the increase and diffusion of geographic
knowledge", a mission that includes education, exploration, environmental efforts, scientific
research and conservation.Today, in order to fulfil its mission, the society is also a striving
commercial enterprise. Beside its traditional flagship magazine, National Geographic, it
offers special interest publications like Adventure or Traveller, owns the TV channel
Explorer, and there is a high performance e-commerce web site with many features and
offerings. Recently it has gone into a partnership with NOVICA, that sells artfully
fabricated craft products from all over the world.
An exquisite megastore Museumshop.com
MuseumShop.com is a large online retail platform for mostly unique gifts of its partner
museum, in October 2001 more than 75 museums that showcase more than 3,000 pro-
ducts. It has a high-standard e-commerce solution, including for example: a "gift finder"
tool (matching gift to gender, age, occasion, price range) or for registered users the shipping
status. Partner institutions from Europe include for example the Musée d'Orsay, Prado
Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum.