Rethinking museum shops in the context of the climate crisis


  • Jamie Larkin Chapman University



This paper critically evaluates the role of the museum shop in the context of the climate crisis. Specifically, it considers how museum shops might be reconceptualized as an important facet of visitor communication within the emerging category of climate museums. Theoretically, the paper references the conceptual linkages of material and commodity culture in relation to climate issues, while practically, it frames the shop as a space that can both support exhibition messaging and prompt behavioral changes among visitors that might help reduce their planetary impact. These claims are explored with reference to the concepts of “gestalt” and “nudge” theory. The paper presents three approaches for effecting such changes: 1. Extended exhibition messaging through shop products; 2. Consistency of tone between exhibition and shop spaces; 3. Imposing limits on the shop space to convey environmental messages. Ultimately, the paper argues for the shop as a more integral cultural component of the museum complex.

Author Biography

Jamie Larkin, Chapman University

Center for Creative and Cultural Industries

Assistant Professor