In their quest for financial sustainability at a time of steady decline in public subsidies and increasing competition with other firms and industries, museums and other cultural organizations have, over the past decades, progressively incorporated in their practice a wide array of activities aimed at increasing their earned income: from shops to restaurants and cafés, to renting out their premises for private events. While positively contributing to revenue generation, the addition of commercial sources of funding to the production function of organizations characterized primarily by noncommercial goals is a potential source of strategic, managerial, and reputational challenges for museums, both internally and towards their stakeholders. The ways and extent to which commercial activities should be developed, and the potential trade-offs with the core goals and activities, are matters of crucial importance in the management of museums. In this dissertation, I have collected and analyzed a set of qualitative primary data on a number of Dutch museums, to understand if – and how – commercial activities can be managed in a way that does not compete with the core objectives of the museum, but rather contributes to the fulfillment of its mission. This entails reflecting on different – and potentially contrasting – views of the vocation of museums in society, on their underlying values, and on organizational dynamics, in search for emerging tensions and effective ways of minimizing them.

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Mignosa, Anna
Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Manzini, Ilaria. (2022, February 8). More than Sales that Pay the Bills: Best Practices for Commercial Activities in the Experience of Dutch Museums. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from