In November, we headed on a research trip to Minneapolis. We wanted to see if everything we heard about Minneapolis museums was true. Has Gehry designed a unique façade for the Weisman Art Museum? Does Walker Center have one of the best educational programs in the US? And, finally, is it true that one can spend the whole day at MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art) visiting the exhibitions, enjoying coffee and browsing a unique curated collection at the MIA Design Store? Well, yes it is true.
We came to MIA on Saturday afternoon. Before seeing the exhibitions we grabbed a coffee at MIA café. Their salads and pastries are totally delicious!
We heard a lot about MIA shop and its collaboration with Artbook. However, we knew little about other unique design items that MIA shop has to offer and so we scheduled an interview with Rita Mehta, the Head of MIA Retail Strategy.
Rita Mehta: We carry a curated selection of art titles, including MIA exhibition-related publications and books relating to current national and international shows, as well as an assortment of current and relevant books - monographs, photography, theory, lifestyle, cookbooks, etc.! MIA is an encyclopedic museum so we work with Artbook to make sure that our assortment reflects our collection, current trends, and events or priorities within the museum and our community.
Indeed, the selection of books at MIA shop is impressive! Even if you can not make it to the store, MIA publications are available on www.artbook.com Just use the code and get a 25% discount.
Rita Mehta: MIA inspires wonder with extraordinary exhibitions and one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country. Our role in running The Store at MIA is to delight our visitor and allow said visitor to bring a bit of wonder home. We work as a team to build a cohesive assortment. We look for items that not only complement our collection and ongoing exhibitions, but that are special and are the best in terms of quality, value, or design. We focus on brands that are mission based and that are transparent and follow responsible manufacturing practices.
For exhibition focused assortments, like our current assortment for the Martin Luther: Art & The Reformation exhibition, we work to provide our visitor with the expected (catalogues, educational books, postcards and branded products) and also to extend the experience by offering unique items, such as German handicrafts, art supplies, and toys.
We were fascinated by unique designer jewellery pieces, handmade pottery and accessories. We also love the MIA totes, bags, notebooks and t-shirts.
Rita Mehta: You can buy here so much apart from books! Our assortment is extensive - gifts, jewellery, home goods, kids toys, accessories. We work really hard to provide our visitor with the best in design in the Twin Cities.
One of the most fun aspects of buying for The Store at MIA is that the average visitor changes depending on what is going on at the museum! It's an interesting challenge and keeps us on our toes.
MIA Shop is among those design stores where you want to spend time. Even if you are someone who rarely shops in museums, consider staying a bit more and browsing the art books library. Or take some more time to look at handcrafted design pieces. MIA Shop’s assistant are very knowledgeable and can show you what the store has to offer!