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The Department Store Museum


The Department Store Museum website captures the rise and fall of department stores in North America, “shopping destinations where memories were often made”.

While the heyday of department stores has ended, the story of department-store culture has a great deal to tell about economics, class, and consumerism of the past. The Department Store Museum preserves that legacy through a growing series of “exhibits” about once-popular stores such as Liberty House, Shillito’s, Goldwaters, Eaton’s, Jordan Marsh, and a myriad of other shopping destinations with origins in the mid-19th century. Organized by retailer, the exhibits contain essays, photographs, and reproductions of advertisements, floor directories, and much more.

It’s a big task to capture the magic of the early days of conspicuous consumption, when many people experienced middle-class living for the first time and had money to spend beyond the basic necessities of life. The Department Store Museum enlightens readers about the significance of  the stores, their founders, and the cities in which they originated.

The site will interest those who fondly remember shopping for clothing, housewares, appliances, toys, specialty foods, tools, and travel under one roof.


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