WACO– Today over 1,700 museums in all 50 states and 24 countries are participating in Museum Store Sunday.

Assistant Director of Communications at the Mayborn Museum in Waco, Rebecca Nall, said this is the first year it has participated.

“The purpose of Museum Store Sunday is to encourage people to shop right here in their local museum stores,” Nall said.

The International Museum Store Association started Museum Store Sunday five years ago.

Nall says museum stores are integral to museum operation and contain unique gifts.

“Not only do they provide support for the museum’s mission through earned income, they also provide a tangible memory that people can take home with them so they can relive their museum experience over and over again,” Nall said.

Nall says museums help inspire wanting to learn more and sparking new interest.

“Interest about our science, history, culture and museum stores are just a reflection of whatever museum you’re in,” Nall said.

The museum store is open for shopping without paying admission into the museum.

“We hope people in the community will choose to be a patron of the museum and shop in the museum store all year long,” Nall said.

Museum Store Sunday is always on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

“The Museum Store Association really wanted to encourage people to think of museum stores as a place to do some of your holiday shopping because there are a lot of unique finds,” Nall said.

The Museum Store Association says to shop knowing you are supporting the missions and programs of each participating museum and cultural institution.