The Ultimate Guide to Partnerships Between Museums & Brands

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Inspired by the Field Museum’s recent launch of an exciting new libation, let’s take a quick look back at the unique and creative partnerships that museums and brands have forged over the years. Many museums have been spinning up new brand partnerships as a way to create products that drive buzz, revenue, and capture the eye of their visitors and completely new audiences. 

As both brands and museums look to further differentiate themselves and appeal to broader and more diverse audiences, these partnerships hold mutual benefit in both directions. For the brands, the benefit is crystal clear, especially when working with art museums. According to an article in Forbes, “museums have demonstrably better reputations than even the most well-regarded businesses in the world.” 

These brand partnerships have the potential of driving buzz on social media, boosting website traffic, and keep things fresh. Let’s take a look! 


Field Museum + Toppling Goliath

  Image courtesy of DRAFT Magazine.

Image courtesy of DRAFT Magazine.

The Field Museum in Chicago recently released a new line of beer in partnership with Toppling Goliath, and it was the only place in Illinois to tap the highly sought after PseudoSue pale ale. In addition to a collaboration on beer, the institution is also set to release a gin in celebration of its 125th anniversary in July 2018. The gin will be created with 14 botanicals that were introduced at the 1893 World’s Fair, the event where the museum was founded!

Read more about the beer collaboration and gin collaboration!


MOCA Los Angeles + Levi’s

  I  mage Courtesy of Hypebeast.com. Mr. A aka Andre Saraiva x Levi's®.

Image Courtesy of Hypebeast.com. Mr. A aka Andre Saraiva x Levi's®.

In 2011, MOCA Los Angeles teamed up with Levi’s to create a denim jacket that featured work from notable graffiti and street artists, including Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring, and Shepard Fairey, just to name a few! Further, this line was designed to complement the museum’s “Art in the Streets” exhibition.

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MoMA + Uniqlo

  Image courtesy of fashionista.com.

Image courtesy of fashionista.com.

In March 2104, MoMA and Uniqlo launched ‘SPRZ NY,’ a clothing line that was inspired by artwork from the museum’s collection. The line rolled out throughout the year and even had a dedicated floor in the brand’s flagship store on 5th Avenue. The collaboration evolved out of a partnership that started in 2013, when Uniqlo sponsored “free Fridays” at the museum to promote appreciation of modern art and design. The collaboration was even nominated for the Americans for the Arts pARTnership Award.

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Neue Galerie + Estée Lauder

 

  Image courtesy of Vogue.com.

Image courtesy of Vogue.com.

Back in 2010, New York City museum Neue Galerie collaborated with Estée Lauder to create an exclusive “Berlin Red” lipstick and Bauhaus-style mirror compact to commemorate the museum’s retrospective of German artist Otto Dix. The lipstick color was inspired by Dix’s iconic portrait of dancer Anita Berber.   

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Brooklyn Museum + Takashi Murakami + Louis Vuitton

  Image courtesy of cloudfront.net.

Image courtesy of cloudfront.net.

In 2008, the Brooklyn Museum presented a retrospective of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The retrospective was deemed controversial because it included a fully operational Louis Vuitton store within the exhibit. The store was home to both “Monogram Multicolor products” and limited edition canvases of the monogramouflage design, a new print created in a collaboration between Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director Marc Jacobs.    

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American Museum of Natural History + Etsy

  Image courtesy The Etsy Blog.

Image courtesy The Etsy Blog.

In 2015 the Museum of Natural History and online marketplace Etsy teamed up to launch an omnichannel collaboration inspired by the natural world, and the museum’s collection. The line included over 140 items created by 22 Etsy artists, and was sold in both the museum’s gift shop and online.  

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Lincoln Park Zoo + DryHop Brewers  

  Image courtesy of Brewbound.com.

Image courtesy of Brewbound.com.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo has recently collaborated with DryHop Brewers to release a beer to raise money for the conservation of the Puerto Rican parrot, an endangered species whose habitat was devastated by Hurricane Maria. The beer was debuted at a Zoo fundraiser, and DryHop donated $1 for every pint sold.

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American Museum of Natural History + F.A.O Schwarz  

 

  Image courtesy of upout.com.

Image courtesy of upout.com.

While F.A.O. Schwarz may have closed its storefronts in 2015, back in the mid 90’s they teamed up with the American Museum of Natural History to create a line of highly realistic stuffed animals that complemented the museum’s exhibits on biodiversity.  

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MoMA + Callum Lumsden

  Image courtesy of store.moma.org.

Image courtesy of store.moma.org.

Back in 2014, MoMA collaborated with Callum Lumsden, a designer who has worked on many high profile projects linking aesthetic design and financial growth for museums. The project led to the opening of the MoMA Design Store, which sells curated items, as well as exclusive products licensed to the museum. The store has continued to grow and has expanded to a satellite location in Japan, as well as online. 

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MOCA Los Angeles + Nike Skateboarding

  Nike SB x Geoff McFetridge Paper Dunk High. Image Courtesy of Freshnessmag.com.

Nike SB x Geoff McFetridge Paper Dunk High. Image Courtesy of Freshnessmag.com.

In 2011 Nike Skateboarding collaborated with MOCA Los Angeles to produce limited edition sneakers made from paper artwork, as well as t-shirts. The t-shirts were designed by featured artists to celebrate the “Art in the Streets” exhibit. Nike Skateboarding also hosted a Make Something!! Education project that ran six workshops focused on shoe design for high school students.

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