History on a Shirt
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Do they sell? | Clients | Shirts | Prices | 7 mistakes that kill shirt sales | Mobile Display Cases
Buffalo Soldier design

History on a Shirt offers t-shirts to promote your museum, designed just for your gift shop. History on a Shirt started with one artist's vision to help museums get their message out - attached to enthusiastic supporters - who pay the museum for the privilege of advertising the museum! Read on for details, look at existing t-shirt designs, or go ahead and order online.

Do they sell?

Two of my designs sold literally out of the box; with another design, a customer tried to buy the shirt off my back. Across the country, many of my clients find these designs sell t-shirts very well, overcoming problems common to many museums:

See the designs.


I am developing designs for quite a number of museums; clients who have already placed an order include:

See the designs.


We usually use 6-ounce Gildan shirts, having found that brand to be good quality, but can work with other brands too. You can get some idea of available colors (including the Pantone color) on Gildan's color swatch page, but be aware that not all colors are always available: some of them are for other items than t-shirts. Take a look, get back to us with your favorites, and we can give you a designer's advice about what colors might work best to get your message across. Or go ahead and order online.

T-shirts don't work for your shop? We have handled other products for customers, too. Just ask about tote bags, bookmarks, polos, jewelry, and other options.

Laser-etched History on a Shirt logo
Laser-etched History on a Shirt logo

Prices and Shipping

Tote bag designed for Fort Vasquez

Realizing that small museums usually have small budgets but great stories, we have arranged a special pricing structure to help museums afford unique t-shirt designs without expensive upfront design fees. Our discounted prices for museums include quality shirts and the artist's time working with you, plus the non-measurable benefits of attaching a design advertising your museum to someone excited about your museum. So when you buy the t-shirts, the design time, quality shirts, and advertising come with no additional cost. Most museums ask for a design so specific to their collection it is really custom artwork for that museum, although the artist still owns the design. However, if the design works for other museums also, you may get a quantity price break by ordering together with them.

Custom designs can be done the same day but usually take a few days. During busy times, a $100 deposit will guarantee you a spot in line, but the deposit is deducted from your order invoice, so it still doesn't cost you in the end. Need exclusive rights to the design, or the design on a tote, polo, or cap? Just call or email us to discuss.

Minimum order is 24 shirts. Our all-inclusive price means you don't have to worry about the "thousand paper cuts" of all the various fees. Our price covers:

  • cost of the actual promotional apparel
  • printing costs
  • artwork adjustment fees
  • file setup fees
  • multiple screen fees
  • screen setup fees
  • color fees
  • shipping
  • making sure you are satisfied with what you get
  • FOR MUSEUMS ONLY! free design work by artist Ewan Tallentire

Downloadable price list (PDF) for museums (Colorado museums: ask for the in-state price of $0.50 discount per shirt!)


Time from ordering until shirts are shipped can be up to two weeks; please make sure we know your time frame if you have an event coming up.

Ready to order? You can order online.

7 mistakes that kill shirt sales

The following design issues can keep t-shirts from selling, leaving you with dead inventory. We will try to help you avoid these problems.

  1. T-shirt with just a logo (looks like it should be a staff shirt)
  2. Overly complex design (hard to see without invading personal space)
  3. Design on a white shirt (white, or light color, seems like an undershirt)
  4. Design is a photo (photos are usually too detailed for a shirt)
  5. Design is generic (no urgency to buy; customer can get it elsewhere)
  6. Full-color design (costs more to produce for what is often a low-quality design)
  7. Doesn't tell a story (everyone likes a story, only enthusiasts like that particular vehicle)

Ideas for reaching homeschoolers

Boys learning about World War I, wearing Over There 1917 Harley shirts.

Homeschoolers can be an enthusiastic target market for museums, but only if you can find them and present your museum in a way they understand. Here are some tips based on our experience being, and talking to, homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers can be hard to reach. Most homeschools are quite interested in history, museums, and field trips, but by the nature of what they are doing homeschoolers may be tied only loosely (if at all) into any informational network. Word-of-mouth may be as good as it gets for reaching some homeschoolers! However, if you put the word out there, you may be surprised where homeschoolers will come from to attend your event.

Homeschool groups plan ahead. We have had some success through sending flyers about our homeschool history events to Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) for them to distribute to their email list of homeschool groups. (In fact, the first time we did this, in connection with the Vintage Aero Flying Museum, we quickly exceeded the capacity of the small museum, and had to schedule a second day!) We found that though many individual homeschool families will decide on the spur of the moment to have a field trip, group leaders plan weeks ahead, and two months is not too far ahead to notify them. Another consideration with groups is that they tend to come and go, so although it is worth collecting a mailing list, it could get out of date quickly. Asking for RSVPs is a way to get a guess, though hardly a trustworthy number, for who is coming. To encourage RSVPs, point out limited space or free study guides.

Homeschool demographics keep changing. Recognize that homeschooling is growing, and it is not always who you think. Yes, many are Christian and many have lots of children. But recently the movement has grown to include families who are concerned about safety or quality of education, and who may be secular, single-kid, double-careerist, tattooed, or all the above! Since many parents who feel adequate at teaching the alphabet or basic arithmetic, get nervous about teaching higher levels of math, there are probably more younger homeschoolers out there than highschool homeschoolers. However, the highschoolers may be all the more interested in events where they can meet others like themselves!

Tell everybody. Ways to get the word out include: notices on the museum signage, brochures, and website; emails/mail to your regular mailing list announcing a homeschool event (you have no idea who it will get forwarded to!); emails/mail to any homeschooler lists you have from previous events (with a reminder to forward to anyone else they know); ads in homeschool magazines; flyers to homeschool organizations; advertising at homeschool conferences; and tables at homeschool conference vendor areas.

Be exciting. Be creative, and take advantage of the unique schedule of homeschools. Since those movies came out, a night at the museum always sounds interesting. But why stop there? We considered, despite not having money or time for it, attending an event at an aviation museum a state away just because it involved getting to sleep inside an aircraft! Many homeschoolers started homeschooling in order to make their education schedule fit real life; i.e. historic events don't happen only on school days between 9 and 3! If there is a time or date relevant to your museum that falls outside regular hours or tourist season, see how many homeschoolers you can get interested!

Contact History on a Shirt

Phone: (303) 795-5369
Email: artwork@historyonashirt.com
Physical mailing address:
History on a Shirt
5356 S. Crocker St.
Littleton, CO 80120

History on a Shirt on Facebook

Illustration and other specialties

History on a Shirt is only one aspect of Albion Design Centre. See these links for more products and designs, as well as illustration, typography, logo design, graphic design, web design, and history: