Holiday Ornaments

There is still time to create and/ or consign holiday ornaments as special souvenirs that your site can offer to visitors, while generating revenue. As we’ve discussed here previously, customizing affordable products from your collection can be a form of public access. Consider working with local artisans or larger manufacturers to design unique objects. Regional arts councils and festivals are good sources for finding craftsmen nearby.One ornament maker in Pinnacle, NC uses okra pods, shells, cotton bolls, starfish, gourds, and sweetgum balls to create santas, angels, lighthouses, and animals. The emphasis on local materials could help promote the distinctiveness of your site. Check with such artisans to find out whether consigning their wares in your giftshop is an option. This arrangement allows your institution to sell unique, locally made items with no financial risk.

Several of North Carolina’s cultural heritage institutions sell a range of brass ornament designs successfully. Both the North Carolina Museum of History and the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History offer ornaments with state and regional symbols and building motifs. Similarly, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum’s gift shop sells a very affordable ornament showcasing five lighthouses.

A Brevard, NC company called the Charleston Mint is one producer of customized brass ornaments. They welcome small quantities and promise a brief processing period.  If you start now, you can offer a unique gift for your institution’s supporters and potentially earn revenue in the process. Once a design has been approved, it will take only 4-5 weeks before your organization receives the ornaments. Pricing varies depending on quantity, packaging, colors, and dimensionality and can be anywhere from $6.00-$10.00 per piece. An order of approximately two hundred, then, will require a cash investment. However, if your institution’s board and other volunteers like the idea and can commit to purchasing a certain number of ornaments before ordering, then you can proceed with little financial risk to your institution.

The Mint Museum’s gift shop has successfully customized products based on museum artifacts in its “Collection Connection” series. Staff derived three brass ornament designs from an oil portrait, a frame, and a statue in the museum’s collection. In addition to the potential revenue such customized products can raise, your institution would be offering an additional form of access to its collections. As the Mint Museum’s website announces, buyers feel like they can “take home a piece” of the museum. At the same, time your organization would be promoting its mission by emphasizing the distinctiveness of  its collection, building, and/or locality.


About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on October 1, 2012, in collections access, museums and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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