(See the full article in The Guardian here: Museum stores booming as cultural shoppers seek out gifts with soul )
Also see the gallery at Museum Gift shops boom for a sample of what the National trust is selling.
Plenty of factors at play here of course, the weak pound, the number of people holidaying at home this year (like the writer of the article I shall studiously avoid using the word "staycation") and the heritage and cultural attractions business cottoning on to the power of the gift shop. There can of course be a fine line between quirky and relevant merchandise and "tat" and the retailer must be careful not to coarsen their brand with poor product selection.
Furthermore, the visitor need not actually even visit the attraction in order to buy gifts from the shop. A new website (CultureLabel) is selling products directly from the gift shops of over 60 museums and galleries, including the Tate, the V& A and the British Museum.
I prefer the old fashioned way of course, experiencing the museum, seeing the exhibits and then making a flurry of ill advised impulse buys as I leave. My kids are learning quickly too and will badger me as we approach the shop, "Dad, can we have some money so we can secondary spend, can we Dad?".
Museums: Developing Uniquely 21st Century Museum Experiences