Incredible Retail Displays at the Denver Art Museum

Published on:
May 7, 2020


The Denver Art Museum has been a treasured attraction in Colorado for generations. Founded in 1893 as the Denver Artists’ Club, the museum has seen many impactful updates along the way. Today the museum is comprised of three main buildings – each with their own distinguished style.

The museum presents a unique aesthetic with its stunning architecture and imaginative exhibits. This creative environment allows each visitor to experience the museum in a personal way.


Today, this experience carries over seamlessly into the museum’s gift shop. As unique as the museum itself, the gift shop offers one-of-a-kind pieces created by both local and international artists. However, it wasn’t always this way. The gift shop was originally placed in an easily missed location under the main entrance stairway. The crowded layout and awkward placement of the gift shop resulted in low foot traffic and underperforming sales.

Denver Art Museum Giftshop 1


The Denver Art Museum looked to solve this problem with the hiring of Denver-based Roth + Sheppard Architects. With over 100 awards in architecture and interior design, they had the track record and talent to create a gift shop that would blend seamlessly into the visitor’s experience and surrounding architecture.

“We had to . . . figure out ways to make the merchandise look like art. Now many people walk into the lobby and think the store is the first gallery.” – Jeff Sheppard, Roth + Sheppard Architects

Roth + Sheppard was tasked with evaluating the 12,000 square foot first floor to find a new placement for the museum gift shop. After completing numerous studies it was decided to place the new shop in a far more visible area near the main entrance. In addition to the economical issues, Roth + Sheppard was challenged with creating a space that would respect the building’s current architecture (created by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind).

Denver Art Museum Giftshop 2


In 2009 the gift shop was completed and immediately saw increased sales and foot traffic. The gift shop’s design is open and fun with its dancing architectural lines and brightly lit displays. This fascinating space immediately demands the attention of all who enter the building.

The first thing visitors will notice upon entering the museum is the boldly backlit display wall featuring incredible glass art. Evo-Lite’s Edgelit Light Panels provide lighting that perfectly renders the colors, depths, and bends intrinsic in glass art. Finding a lighting product with the perfect balance of brightness, color temperature, and color rendering was necessary to display these pieces accurately.

Beyond this display, visitors are encouraged to explore further into the store by a series of backlit columns. This visual path converts the casual visitor into an interested, attentive shopper. These columns work with the overhead track lighting to establish an inviting atmosphere.


As often as it may go unnoticed to the untrained eye, lighting is an essential component of art and displays. The right type of light used in the right way has the potential to expertly direct a subject’s focus, path, and value.

“Great lighting is not just about how the customer sees a retail display, but how it makes them feel.” – Patty Tartaglia, Senior Lighting Design Specialist, Retailite

The uniqueness of the Denver Art Museum demanded a unique solution – one that would seamlessly carry the experience of the museum into the gift shop. Smart architecture and lighting design worked together to reinvigorate the museum’s poorly performing gift shop.

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