How to find great deals at museum stores

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Find great deals at museum stores with these tips

No visit to a favorite museum is complete without stopping by the gift shop. This is where you’ll find prints and post cards of favorite art pieces, hard-to-find books, clever novelties and even textiles featuring the same unique prints you just admired in a display.

Fine art museum shops offer gifts and keepsakes that are hard to resist. You may find a new special mug to commemorate a visit to a far away city, a piece of jewelry that looks like it belongs in an exhibit or a unique present for the impossible-to-shop-for art lover in your life. 

These are some of the best places to find finely crafted items. Unfortunately, they’re not one of the first places you think of when shopping on a budget. But maybe they should be. Here are a few ways to find great deals at museum stores.

Resist impulse buying

Visiting a great museum is an immersive experience. You spend several hours wandering through finely curated rooms, allowing your eyes to fall in love and your mind to marvel at the fact that each masterpiece is the product of both brush strokes and human expression. The gift store is the final stop on a day rich with stimulation and provocation.

Suddenly, you need to have a tote featuring that painting of a sunset you’ll never forget. And who can blame you for filling a basket with note cards of John Singer Sargent’s best work? You probably would like to ignore the price tags and skip ahead to bringing these items home and admiring them up close.

But if you’re looking for a deal, resist. Browse the store, write down which items you love and be patient. 

Go online

Many brick and mortar stores lament consumers’ tendency to browse items in person while buying online. Reason being many physical stores can’t compete with online pricing. With these kinds of shops, however, they’re one in the same.

Museum stores today often have an online shop as well. This is where you’ll find great deals at museum stores. The best part is, items go on sale all the time to make room for new inventory, so you don’t necessarily have to wait for Columbus Day, Back Friday or other big sale days. Many sites even have a clearance page filled with discounted items you may not have even seen at the physical store.

Beware of shipping and handling

The hitch with online shopping typically comes at the end of your transaction in the form of a hefty shipping fee. You blink, click to checkout and BOOM. All that money you thought you were going to save now goes to the cost of shipping? 

All is not lost! First, check to see if the shop has a Free Shipping minimum. If your total isn’t far, it’s probably worth going back and selecting another item to receive the Free Shipping. If you’re nowhere near the minimum, make sure you choose the most affordable shipping method, which is also the slowest.

Stay in the know

A guaranteed way to find great deals at museum stores is to keep yourself in their loop. Subscribe to their email list, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. This is where they typically announce the biggest sales, including free shipping! Sometimes you'll even receive a special subscribers only promo code.

Be prepared to act fast. You’re not the only art lover who wants that tote! When your favorite pieces go on sale, order them right away or you may soon see the dreaded “Out of Stock” tag.

Museum gift shops are fantastic places to find the types of gifts people treasure for years. When you find a store you like, add them to your social media feed right away. This way you can re-visit modern artists who inspire you and find ways to incorporate their work into your home, closet and holidays without spending a fortune.

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