The Ackland Art Museum is expanding its boundaries with a store on Franklin Street, but it’s unknown when its doors will open.
The future home of the store at 100 East Franklin St. was originally scheduled to open in November, but has since been delayed indefinitely.
Museum director Emily Kass spearheaded the movement to open the Ackland Museum Store in an effort to both broaden the exposure of the museum and promote downtown Chapel Hill as a cultural destination.
“We realized that museums all over the country have stores,” said Emily Bowles, director of communications for the museum. “Many Ackland visitors and supporters have requested a store over the years.”
With a start-up grant from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and an ideal location on the corner of Columbia and Franklin streets, the vision that Kass has had since she started working at the museum four years ago was made possible.
The store, leased by UNC on behalf of the Ackland, will include 2000 ft. of retail space and 600 ft. of gallery space.
Store manager Alice Southwick said that the retail space will include an array of affordable merchandise.
“The merchandise will include lots of items the students will love, including sketchbooks, handmade calligrapher’s brushes, a nice selection of plastic cameras and jewelry,” Southwick said.
The store will also carry books and items that will reflect the permanent and temporary collections and educational programs at the museum, Bowles said.
The Ackland Museum Store has partnered with UNC Student Stores in acquiring merchandise.
“The store is doing our purchasing, receiving and warehousing,” Southwick said. “This allows us to focus on the selection, display and selling of merchandise while utilizing a team of highly trained employees at Student Stores.”
All of the proceeds from the store will support the Ackland’s exhibition and education programs.
The store’s gallery space will feature both local and regional artists, acting as an annex to the museum. All of the pieces will be for sale during their two-month displays, profiting both the local artists and museum programs.
A team of Ackland employees including Kass, Southwick, curators and other members of the Museum will select the artists who will be featured in the gallery, Southwick said.
The Ackland team sees the store and gallery as a gateway to the museum. It will function primarily as an outlet for retail, but also as an orientation and program space for visitors.
“We want the museum to be a place where people will want to spend time, ask questions and enjoy themselves,” Bowles said.
Southwick said the museum is eager to add to the variety and quality of business in Chapel Hill.
“We endeavor to help build up the ever-growing arts community in the area,” Bowles said.
Southwick agreed, hoping the addition will attract new visitors.
“Who doesn’t love a museum store?”
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