Since the advent of online shopping and larger retailers making the most of Black Friday sales in recent years, there has also been a surge of national online campaigns that aim to preserve independent shops and encourage the nation to buy locally.

One popular example is the volunteer-led initiative Just a Card, which is a national campaign that

“aims to encourage people to buy from designer/makers and independent galleries and shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even ‘just a card’ are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses.”

According to Just a Card, purchasing from a local designer/maker keeps them in business and can often help champion their art for years.

“This in turn can generate tourist traffic and make our towns and villages interesting places we want to visit and enjoy”

Sladers Yard Contemporary Art Gallery and Cafe in West Bay are taking part in the Just A Card campaign this year. Photo credit: Helen Scrase Interiors

Another national campaign that aims to sustain local economy, especially within the arts and culture sector is championed by Association for Cultural Enterprises. This membership-led organisation embarks on their second annual Museum Shop Sunday campaign this weekend Sunday 25 November 2018, which aims to promote cultural and heritage shops in the lead up to Christmas.

“…[This is] a fantastic opportunity to attract new customers to your shop on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. Participation is open to all non-profit cultural venues including museums, galleries, cathedrals, libraries, theatres, historic houses and gardens” says Association for Cultural Enterprises.

Museum Shop Sunday image that can be used by any venue taking part to help promote their event

Museum Shop Sunday image that can be used by any venue taking part to help promote their event – see more in the Museum Shop Sunday marketing pack here.

We speak to Nikki Brotherton Visitor Services Manager at Bridport Museum who is one of the cultural venues in Dorset taking part in the campaign:

Tell us why Bridport Museum getting involved in Museum Shop Sunday.

We have become involved through our membership of ACE and believe the event will not only raise the profile of the shop itself but also the museum.  It is also part of a greater drive to encourage people to visit our town centres in an era where traditional shop-led footfall is reducing due to an increase in online shopping.  Our shop ethos is based on stocking an increasing percentage of eco, heritage and locally sourced quality crafts which reflect our distinct locality and give visitors an opportunity to take away a souvenir of what Dorset has to offer.

This is our first MuseumShopSunday event and is a showcase for local artists and craftspeople to display and sell their products. It is also an opportunity for us to show how the museum can be a vibrant place where people can congregate and have fun and create memories. This is contrary to many people’s view of a traditional museum visit!

Visitors young and old enjoying learning about the history of rope making at Bridport Museum

Visitors young and old enjoying learning about the history of rope making at Bridport Museum

What can people expect at your Museum Shop Sunday?

The talented engraver Robin Mackenzie, who designed our stunning glass door will be demonstrating his craft along with other local artisans.

At 11.30am there will be a special ropemaking demonstration, where for the first time we will be using coloured twine to make unique Christmas garlands which will be on sale on the day.

This is the perfect antidote to the crazy rush of Black Friday: ‘slow shopping’ here at the Museum. Come and chat to our volunteers and browse without pressure to find some lovely hand-picked and specially curated Christmas gifts.

We also have a table of ‘pocket money’ priced gifts which children can buy for parents and have wrapped for them on the premises.

“When you buy a gift from our shop you are helping to sustain the cultural offer that we provide to the town and community by keeping the museum open and free for everyone to enjoy.”

What do you hope will be the main benefit of the event for you?

It is hoped that this will prove Bridport Museum to be a special and magical place to visit not just for our history but to support our craftspeople and bring together people with a common belief – that being together and providing this service is something we all enjoy.  We rely on volunteers to keep our museum alive and they are greatly responsible for bringing this event to life – and having fun while doing so!

Bridport Museum glass door by Robin Mackenzie Photo: Pete Millson 2018

Bridport Museum glass door by Robin Mackenzie Photo: Pete Millson 2018

To find out more about the Bridport Museum Shop Sunday event on 25 November visit their website here

If you are taking part in #indieweek or #museumshopsunday why not share in the comments below or our Instagram page @theartsdevelopmentcompany