Museums and the Web 2005
Interactions: Description
Photo Credits

More than just papers, MW2005 offers a chance for dialogue.

The Rise and Fall and Rise Of the MFA Boston's On-line Gift Shop

Phil Getchell, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

Mini-Workshop: E-Commerce

Launched in 1998, the MFA's Online Gift Shop grossed over 6 million dollars in its first 3 years. The extraordinary success piggy-backed on our established catalog sales and retail store operations. Because of our existing customer base, facilities, and expertise, were we able to sustain seven-figure annual on-line sales.

But, as the ever-volatile catalog sales market became saturated, and economic effects of 9-11 hit home, the MFA was forced to discontinue catalog sales. As a result we practically closed our on-line store - only selling MFA publications and slide sets. Last year we grossed only $50,000 in on-line sales; we may have netted zero.

Finally, after an 18-month hiatus, the MFA is relaunching our full-scale on-line gift shop. We are convinced that the exponential increase in Web traffic to (, and the persistence of many longtime customers positions us well for renewed e-commerce success.