Cainan Townsend: A look inside Moton

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023


Cainan Townsend

We wanted to take the time to highlight part of the museum that people may not think about regularly, but should. The Moton Museum Bookstore. The Moton Museum Bookstore is an integral and multi-faceted work for our institution — from earning income and extending mission-related programs, to visitor engagement and educational outreach through store products, programs, and experiences. Our bookstore furthers the educational mission of our institution, through the offering of products that allow the public to “take home” a part of the museum for their enjoyment and ongoing memory of their museum experience. 

Our visitors range from schoolchildren to professionals, from college students to retirees, and from families to single adults. We effectively serve these diverse visitors by offering a wide variety of items and price points that help capture the interest of each of these various patrons. In addition, our bookstore creates long-term patrons of the museum by specifically engaging children, teens, and young adults with store products that are educational. By reaching out to this important demographic via the bookstore, the engagement helps to create future audiences that can support the museum. Essentially, we help to extend the brand of the museum overall, by helping to communicate, reinforce, and amplify our unique offerings and experiences to the public. 

Many items are developed exclusively, resulting in distinctive and unique offerings for consumers that are mission and program related. Our bookstore and its products are one of the strongest marketing tools that the museum possesses. When a patron wears a piece of jewelry, looks at a print, reads a book, or plays with a game purchased from the bookstore, these products subtly communicate key marketing messaging and reinforcement of the Moton Museum. When consumers purchase items from our bookstore, they help to sustain the museums service to the public, into the future. On Sunday, Nov. 26, Moton will participate in Museum Store Sunday, where more than 2,100 Museum Stores representing all fifty states, 25 countries, and five continents will offer relaxing, inspired shopping inside your favorite museums and cultural institutions. 

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Museum Store Sunday, offers a special shopping experience in one-of-a kind stores, showcasing broad assortments of highly curated, unique, mission-specific gifts. From books to jewelry to children’s products to home accessories and gourmet food, there is something for everyone. Shop knowing you are supporting the missions and programs of each participating museum and cultural institution. Be sure to visit the Moton Museum Bookstore, between Noon and 4 p.m. to participate in this unique shopping experience. 

We have been very fortunate to make an addition to our team in October 2023. Jill Ahmad started as our Assistant Director for Marketing and Community Engagement. She had some words she wanted to share to re-introduce herself to the public. 

“Since joining the Robert Russa Moton Museum team, I’ve found profound inspiration in its rich history and the community’s unwavering commitment to civil rights education. With a background steeped in community engagement and a deep respect for cultural heritage, I bring to Moton a dedication to storytelling that hopefully engages and enlightens. My approach is rooted in the belief that community engagement is the cornerstone of our museum’s mission. By forging strong connections with our audience through social media and targeted outreach, I aim to expand our reach and impact. The dialogue between the museum and the community isn’t just about sharing history; it’s a vital, ongoing conversation that empowers and educates. At Moton, we’re not just preserving history; we’re actively participating in the creation of a future where every voice is heard and valued. I’m thrilled to be part of this journey and to contribute to the museum’s legacy of advocacy and education.” 

Lastly we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge an important birthday. The Reverend J. Samuel Williams Jr. turns 90 years old on Nov. 16. Help us in wishing him a Happy Birthday and tell the Town of Farmville how much you appreciate their work to turn Watkins Street into Williams Way named in his honor. 

CAINAN TOWNSEND is the executive director of the Moton Museum. He can be reached at