Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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The average 1-3% online sales penetration of the arts sector compares very poorly with other retail sectors, which are often closer to 20-30%. Our innovative response was to pool efforts, aggregating the products of 80+ leading UK museums, galleries and arts organisations onto one consumer site. Partners include a wide range of organisations in all sizes, from Tate, V&A and the British Museum through to BALTIC, Museum of London and the Ashmolean.

Through this aggregation, we are able to focus on providing specialist consumer marketing to a degree that no single museum or gallery is able to emulate – by sharpening user journeys, onsite merchandising and mainstream promotion (online and offline).

Consumer media praise for the site is widespread: Vogue called it "An emporium of desirables"; the FT liked how " does the visiting, the curating and the editing for us... A host of possible presents, each one with some real connection to the institution it comes from." The Sunday Times meanwhile called it "gift-tastic!", and many other commentators have praised it's innovative approach.

Within the sector, Alan Davey (Chief Executive of Arts Council England) praised it as "a great and simple idea – as they say on the website, mixing culture and commerce – giving people access to cool and beautiful things in a way that brings a real return to culture. It also links to other initiatives such as our own 'Own Art' scheme, which makes starting a collection of art possible for more people. It's a brilliant thing and I love it.”

Ed Vaizey, Shadow Arts Minister, wrote in the Guardian that “is exactly the kind of enterprise I want to see in the arts - it brings together some of our major national institutions on one web site, helps them make money and creates a community of supporters across the globe.  The web can do so many more things like this, both back and front office, for museums, galleries, arts centres, theatres and so on.  CultureLabel shows us the way.”

Simultaneously, we have created a focal point for e-commerce in the industry, providing new data insights, best practice knowledge and ongoing, dedicated retail support for our partner organisations and beyond. Our position is also recognised outside of the cultural sector with Wired Magazine highlighting CultureLabel as one of the ‘firms to watch’ alongside established internet companies such as and One of the founders of CultureLabel was also recently named in the Top 50 of The Courvoisier Future 500 business leaders.

Most importantly, a recent interview with the Museum of London indicates that we really are helping to grow the online marketplace for culture, crediting the site with helping to grow its online sales by 50% in the six months since launch.


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