Top 10 in Museum Branding

This summer I did an internship at the Union Historical Society in Union, Maine. While on one of my many field trips I visited the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum. If you are ever in Mid-Coast Maine you MUST visit this museum near the Rockland-Camden-Rockport area. The very first thing I picked out to love about this museum was their logo which inspired this blog. “Branding” is becoming increasingly prevalent across the museum sector. Branding as defined by is as follows:
“Branding – Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

For the purpose of museums it is the creation of a logo, and sometimes even a slogan, that people will recognize and immediately associate with that museum. A logo is a simple way for people to link events or publicity materials with a certain institution without having to read or recognize an address. There are too many museum logos to post in one blog but I have chosen a few that I find particularly interesting or creative.

1. Owl’s Head Transportation Museum in Owl’s Head, Maine
First, this logo is adorable. Second, it does an excellent job of bringing together the location and the mission of the museum.

2. The Toy Museum of New York in Brooklyn, New York City

I love word shapes and this toy top naming the museum is very well done.

3. The New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford Massachusettes
This logo is just very suitable and is very neat. Whether intentionally or not it shows how integrated whaling and these large ships were.

4. Green Mountain Children’s Museum will be in Burlington, Vermont
This museum is not even an actual physical museum yet but it has an excellent logo. I feel it will be perfectly iconic to a children’s museum. Who doesn’t love a good game of connect the dots?

5. Doleman Black Heritage Museum in Hagerstown, Maryland
This is a BEAUTIFUL logo called the Tree of Triumph. It is, “ A representation of our rich African-American history of working through and overcoming adversity.” As quoted from the Museum’s website.

Logos Straight from the Development of a City –

6. The Philadelphia History Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The hand-drawn sketch of a grid was a concept taken from a map which was William Penn’s original plan for the city. How fascinating and it gets even better, read more here:


7. Museum of London in London, England U.K.
A fairly recent branding change for the Museum of London made for an interesting and modern twist. “Colored layers map the shape of London over time, reflecting the ever-changing, diverse and dynamic make up of London and Londoners, past, present and future.” From this website where you can read more about it:

Logo Contests and Submissions – Many businesses or museums hold contests to gather submissions for a logo. Two of the museums I have worked in received excellent submissions and have very creative logos.

8. Cedar Rock State Park: The Walter Residence in Independence, Iowa
This Frank Lloyd Wright designed residence is one of his few signature tile homes. I’ll spare you the entire FLlW history but an Iowa college student submitted this idea for the Cedar Rock logo. The black represents a silhouette of the cantilever at the Cedar Rock home itself, and the red square is representative of FLlW’s red signature tile, tying in two of the most important aspects of this museum. It is a VERY nice logo.

9. University of Northern Iowa Museums in Cedar Falls, Iowa
This is another student logo submission for this museum of natural history. This unique logo embodies the main collections of the museum which are birds, rocks, fossils, minerals, campus memories and people of the world.

Just Because I Can and I Felt I Needed a 10th Selection –

10. Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts
Alright, you got me. This logo isn’t particularly creative, exciting or deep BUT I like it because it reminds me of my name, just dramatized…PaAM!

These are some of my favorite, from what I have seen. What museum/institution logos do you find particularly interesting or creative? Here is a link to the Logo Design Blog’s Top 10 Museum logos:


5 responses to “Top 10 in Museum Branding

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