If we had the possibility to use the time machine and to be able to jump half a century backwards to enter one of the many Italian or European museums, it would be very interesting to go and observe how the cultural proposal of the museums has changed, the exhibition technology, the setting up of the spaces and the provision of services considered accessories. It would be even more interesting to enter the bookshops that have experienced an important and very profound change.
Certainly, one of the things that has undergone the greatest change is the attention given to children, both in terms of the cultural proposal of the museum and the bookshops. In the latter case, it would not be difficult to notice that the management of a bookshop previously did not take great account of the needs expressed by the smaller public. This trend has now been completely reversed in every area of society. Today, children are an extremely important target for marketing professionals, because they are not only a vehicle for their age’s needs and desires, but represent an important purchasing lever for their parents.
Helping children to grow up with culture and art
Beyond the aspects more closely related to marketing and economics, although even the management of a museum bookshop must necessarily reason in terms of turnover, what we want to highlight in this article goes beyond the simple sale but tries to offer one or more food for thought on the importance of children for the effective management of a museum bookshop.
If adult visitors appreciate the merchandising offer of a museum bookshop for purely emotional reasons, in order to bring with them the memory of an experience, children do not have the same awareness and yet within a bookshop their parents should have the opportunity not only to buy for them the memory of a lived experience but also to buy something that can continue to stimulate their intelligence, that can help them in their cultural and emotional growth, that can facilitate, over time, their transition to adult life.
A goal of every museum bookshop, then, should be precisely to be able to give satisfaction to this strong need for parents attentive to the growth of their children. That the presence of a corner dedicated to children is a matter of considerable importance for the vast majority of commercial activities we believe is beyond doubt. All the more so when the commercial activity brings with it the intrinsic values of a cultural place, such as a museum bookshop.
A quality offer that satisfies both large and small.
The list of reasons why a museum bookshop should never forget to have a section widely dedicated to children is really long. A concept as trivial and abused as it is still valid that the children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, should already be enough. Helping them today to live a rewarding experience with a museum means making sure that as adults they will be regular visitors. To this ethical motivation we want to add even more commercial ones: children love to be amazed, the selection of goods or services suitable for their age can be very wide. Children love beauty, what makes them enjoy themselves. They love interesting things, games of quality that can foster their demand for autonomy.
All this can be translated into an offer of high quality games, perhaps inspired by the permanent museum’s collection, as is the case in many museums, on whose choice their supplier can offer valuable support. A supply of gadgets and games on which even the parent, if certain aesthetic and pedagogical requirements are met, will be willing to spend more willingly, making the children’s age group an important driving force for the museum bookshop’s turnover.