High Sales in the High Desert: Niche Items Rock the Shops in Fiscal Year



Fiscal year 2022-2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) marked the second-best year ever for sales at the Museum Shops. Despite a slow start in the winter, sales by year’s end neared last year’s record-breaking outcome.

As visitors flocked to new exhibitions, such as La Cartonería Mexicana: The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste at the Museum of International Folk Art and Here, Now and Always at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, they often extended their viewing time by perusing the shops’ ever-popular niche products. As a result, sales neared $3.5 million—about three percent behind last year.

Revenues from shop sales supported the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s efforts to serve our four Santa Fe museums, eight historic sites statewide and the Office of Archaeological Studies. Online sales, though less robust than during the pandemic, remained strong with shoppers picking up jewelry, art calendars and card sets—about $100,000 over projections.

Teresa Curl, vice president of retail, attributes much of the shops’ success to the store managers. “All have been with us for at least nine years—and one for 35,” she says. “They know their products and their people, and what we need to be stocking. They consider themselves ambassadors to the public and to the collectors who rely on these shops.”

The Colleen Cloney Duncan Museum Shop at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture had the highest sales among the four museum shops, again proving itself as a top destination for Native American art and museum-quality jewelry. The fiscal year’s top sellers were Navajo rugs and inlaid turquoise and silver earrings and pendants by Navajo artist Jimmy Poyer. Their bestselling book was Virgil Ortiz: ReVOlution, a mid-career monograph retrospective by the museum’s 2022 Living Treasure awardee. The exhibition catalogue for Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, as well as the shop’s large collection of Pueblo pottery, kept sales strong.

At the Lynn Godfrey Brown Shop at the Museum of International Folk Art, the year’s best-selling products were associated with the exhibitions La Cartonería Mexicana: The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste and Yokai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan. La Cartonería fans bought original papier-mâché figures from Alberto Moreno Fernández and a book on the history of Mexican cartonería by Leigh Ann Thelmadatter. Yokai visitors scooped up original art prints by Santa Fe artist Joel Nakamura, and art masks and T-shirts by exhibition contributor Kono Junya. Attractive, colorful displays boosted sales of local and world art across the shop.

Limited-edition Willard Clark prints were top-selling items at the Rosalie D. and Steven J. Harris Shop at the New Mexico Museum of Art. These restrikes were created by Clark’s grandson and student, Kevin Ryan, and are priced to appeal to a range of buyers. Gustave Baumann-related merchandise continued to sell well; even after a retrospective of the artist’s work ended in February, Baumann calendars, matted prints, posters and a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle flew off the shelves. Other popular shop products included custom printed cards and posters based on the museum’s
collection of modern and contemporary Southwestern art.

Hopi artist Gregory Lomayesva’s carved wooden dolls, animal figures and masks were among the best-selling goods at the Spielberg Shop at the New Mexico History Museum. His works are among the 85 percent of shop products made by New Mexico-based artists and businesses. An extraordinary 16 of the shop’s top 20 vendors are from New Mexico. The Spielberg Shop also remained a top destination for books by New Mexico authors about New Mexico subjects, including history, photography and literature. This year’s best-sellers included No Life for a Lady by
Agnes Morely Cleveland, 109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos by Jennet Conant and American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

Finally, the top-selling book across all four Museum Shops was Santa Fe: Sense of Place by Jane Smith, a coffee table book featuring photographs of some of the City Different’s most beautiful homes.


This article and image are from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Member News Magazine.