Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Archives Center Shopping Bag Collection

Online Media

Catalog Data

Creator:
Archives Center, NMAH, SI.  Search this
Extent:
4 Cubic feet (9 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Trademarks
Shopping bags
Date:
circa 1980-2004
Summary:
Shopping bags from a variety of businesses, including department stores, museums, book stores, libraries, hotels, banks, and specialty shops. Additional material will be added to this collection periodically.
Scope and Contents note:
The shopping bags in this collection represent a number of department stores, book stores, antique stores, banks, libraries, museums, art institutes, toy stores, hotels, etc. and were gathered from a number of sources since it is difficult to get a wide regional selection. The Archives Center maintains these bags however in one collection to show the breadth and the range of the collection. The research value of these bags is as an advertising approach. It presents a view of how certain businesses choose to represent themselves. The designs of the bags, however, are not taken lightly. The graphics and designs on the bags can represent three months of work. The shopping bags are arranged in alphabetical order by name of business since they were collected to relate to advertising more so than their relationship to art or graphic design. Researchers interested in a particular type of art style or technique or one artist should consult the shopping bag collection at the Cooper Hewitt Museum where they are collected as art forms.
Biographical / Historical:
Many businesses have opted to use shopping bags as a less expensive form of advertisement rather than print ads or televisions commercials. These advertisements reflect the creative aspects of the businesses and can often convey the message of a brand. The bags are made of a variety of materials including cloth, heavy paper, and plastic. In addition, retail stores, restaurants, book stores, museums, libraries, coffee houses, grocery stores, and social groups create the shopping bag with the hope that the consumer will reuse it.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection open for research.
Rights:
Fees for commercial reproduction. However, there are copyright and trademark restrictions.
Topic:
advertising -- Business ephemera  Search this
Libraries and museums  Search this
Department stores  Search this
Museums  Search this
Taverns (Inns)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Trademarks
Shopping bags
Citation:
Archives Center Shopping Bag Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0570
See more items in:
Archives Center Shopping Bag Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0570