Save time when you visit. Buy your tickets online now!

Museum Hours: Open Tues. - Sun. 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Save time when you visit. Buy your tickets online now!

Visit the Museum 608.256.6445 Find Us
Museum Hours: Open Tues. - Sun. 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

American Girl Benefit Sale

Save the Date! July 21-22, 2018

8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton, WI 53562


Quick Navigation

About the Sale
Ticket Information
Sale FAQ
Rules and Regulations
Sale Layout
Sale Shopping Procedure
Other Activities at the Sale
Area Information – Visit Middleton
Hotel Information
Contact Us


Ticket information for the 2018 sale is now available!

Check out our ticket sales F.A.Q. page for detailed ticketing information, and answers to all of your ticketing questions.


Girls holding American Girl dolls

Sign up for the American Girl Benefit Sale email list and follow us
on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest Sale news!
 

agbs-email  agbs-fb


Girl in Wheelchair with American Girl doll

About the Sale

General Information
Inventory and Pricing
Payment at the Sale
Parking
Food and Water
Shipping

General Information

The annual American Girl Benefit Sale attracts up to 7,000 shoppers from all over the country and raises around $1 million dollars each year. All funds raised go to support the exhibits and programs of Madison Children’s Museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children, which provides grants for charitable programs for children throughout Dane County.

Over the past 31 years, Madison Children’s Museum has restored and resold overstock and returned merchandise donated by American Girl and Mattel. The benefit sale serves as the museum’s largest fundraiser and has raised an overall total of $24 million. A dedicated corps of 150 museum volunteers work year-round to prepare for the event, with an additional 150 on site during the sale. More than 30,000 volunteer hours are logged annually.

The benefit sale is in two main parts, the Saturday Sale which requires paid tickets, and the Sunday Markdown Sale, which has paid tickets only for the first hour, and free, walk-up tickets for the rest of the day.

Sale Inventory and Pricing

All of the merchandise is either overstock or returns. Saturday Sale prices are approximately 30% less than a catalog or store purchase. Some items may be reduced even further depending on how much inventory we have. The Girl of the Year dolls are an exception since they are no longer available to the general public. Girl of the Year dolls will sell for approximately $120. Madison Children’s Museum has the right to change the prices based on availability from year to year.

The Sunday Markdown Sale prices are based on what does not sell on Saturday. You can expect up to 50% off on most items, with the Girl of the Year dolls an exception.

Donations of sale items from American Girl and Mattel come in gradually, some arriving just days before the sale, so we are not able to release a comprehensive list of available items. Shortly before the sale, we do publish a list of prices for general categories of items, such as Truly Me or Bitty Baby dolls, and may include prices for specific items where we have larger quantities in stock. We do not provide prices or confirm the availability of items not included on that list. We also cannot guarantee the availability of any item at a particular time during the sale.

There are purchasing limits on most of the inventory. The limits are set to provide more people the opportunity to buy certain items we may not have in excess. Limits will be included in the item list published before the sale. To ensure that you receive all sale communications, please subscribe to our email list.

Payment at the Sale

We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express—no checks or travelers checks. Outside merchants in our vendor fair may have other payment preferences.

Parking

There is free, on-street parking located near the sale, usually within a 5–10 minute walk. Additional information on parking will be provided closer to the date of the sale.

There will be free shuttle rides provided to help those who need assistance. Look for the shuttle sign near the parking lot.

A limited number of accessible parking spaces are available near the warehouse for those with disabled parking tags.

Food and Water

There will be food and water available for purchase during the Saturday Sale.

Shipping

The UPS store will have a booth on-site for you to ship your purchases home directly from the sale.

Back to top


Pile of ticket stubs

Ticket Information

Check out our ticket sales F.A.Q. page for detailed ticketing information, and answers to all of your ticketing questions!

Saturday Sale Tickets

Tickets will go on sale in May 2018. The Ticket Lottery Pre-Sale will begin on May 1, 2018 at 9 a.m. CST and end on May 8, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CST, or when all tickets have been sold. In previous years, there have been tickets still available after the Ticket Lottery Pre-Sale. The General Ticket Sale will start at 9 a.m. on May 15, 2018 and will continue until all tickets are sold. Saturday Sale tickets will be $8 each; sales taxes and processing fees may apply.

Walk-up tickets for afternoon entry times may be available for purchase at the sale information booth on Saturday. Shoppers should not count on availability of walk-up tickets. Subscribe to our email list or follow us on social media for details about availability closer to the time of the sale.

Sunday Markdown Sale Tickets

Sunday tickets for entry times between 8 and 9 a.m. (the only times on Sunday when a purchased ticket is required) will go on sale in May. Tickets will be $20 each; sales taxes and processing fees may apply.

Free Sunday tickets will be handed out starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday for entry times between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. All free Sunday tickets are first-come, first-served. Tickets are distributed at the sale information booth, located at the street entry to the sale area.

Ticketing Policies

  • We will only honor one ticket per attendee.
  • Tickets are non-refundable.
  • We reserve the right to revoke or refuse to honor tickets that have been resold for more than the face value of the ticket.
  • Tickets held at will call will only be released to the attendee who purchased the ticket.
  • There are purchasing limits on most of the sale inventory. (For more information on limits, please see the pricing and inventory section.

Back to top


Sale volunteer behind table

Sale FAQ

How do I purchase a ticket?

Tickets will go on sale during May 2018.  Watch this page, sign up for emails, or follow our Facebook page for updates on 2018 tickets.

How much do tickets cost?

Ticket prices depend on date and entry time:

  • Saturday Sale tickets – $8 per person
  • Sunday Markdown Sale, 8-9 a.m. – $20 per person
  • Sunday Markdown Sale, after 9 a.m.– free tickets will be distributed on-site, starting at 7 a.m.

All persons entering the sale, including children, must have a ticket. Children under 3 are not permitted in the sale building, due to safety issues.

Who benefits from the sale?

All sale proceeds are divided between Madison Children’s Museum and the American Girl Fund for Children.

Who runs the sale?

Madison Children’s Museum oversees the logistics of the sale, but the event is a success because of our dedicated volunteers. Approximately 150 volunteers work year-round at the warehouse to repair dolls and organize inventory. Over 300 volunteers are on-site sale weekend.

Should I attend Saturday, Sunday, or both?

The Saturday Sale will have more merchandise, priced at an average of 30% retail. Sunday Markdown Sale product will be what did not sell on Saturday, but at a further reduced price. People like to come on Sunday for the best deal, but there are not as many choices as on Saturday. No product is held back at any point during the sale. Some shoppers choose to attend both days!

Back to top


Rules & Regulations

  • Children under the age of three are not permitted in the sale warehouse. Their safety is our concern. Please plan to have another adult care for your child outside.
  • All persons entering the sale warehouse, including children over 3, must have a ticket.
  • Merchandise limits are per-person, not per-ticket; we reserve the right to limit purchase quantities.
  • Sale entry times may be delayed at times due to warehouse overcrowding.
  • Merchandise is not staggered or held back; all items for sale are on display.
  • No wheeled devices (strollers, wagons, or wheeled luggage) are allowed, with the exception of devices to help people with mobility issues. Please realize the space in the warehouse is extremely crowded. Everyone is excited and people move quickly. It is best to be able to walk independently or bring someone to help you through the crowd. We are not able to provide a special time for entry for those with mobility challenges. If you need assistance, you will be able to wait near the warehouse door at checkout, rather than stand in line. Please let a volunteer know if you are not able to stand for a long time period.
  • Current, valid disability parking permit must be displayed for disabled parking.
  • No animals are permitted on the sale grounds, with the exception of trained service animals.
  • There are NO returns. Items are refurbished returns and overstock, and sold as is.
  • Madison Children’s Museum does not ship, hold, or accept telephone orders.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the warehouse or on the grounds.
  • Previously purchased dolls are not permitted within the warehouse. A “doll daycare” area is provided for your doll to wait until you have finished shopping.
  • Please DO NOT contact American Girl or Mattel regarding this sale.

Back to top


Vendor tents at sale

Sale Layout

The sale grounds comprise an outdoor paved area and the indoor sale warehouse.

An information booth is located at the entry to the sale grounds from the street. Please see the information booth to pick up will-call tickets, to purchase walk-up tickets (when available), to receive free tickets on Sunday, to buy reusable shopping bags, or for questions about sale procedures.

The parking lot at the sale, behind the information booth, is reserved for those with disabled permits, and for those picking up purchases in the loading zone. A roped walkway connects the street access with the main sale area. All pedestrians should stay in in the walkway.

The outdoor, paved area includes the vendor fair, raffle, silent auction, food vendor, come and play area, doll daycare, UPS shipping booth, and the warehouse waiting area.

The warehouse contains all sale items and checkout. You may enter the warehouse as determined by your ticket time or number. See below for more details on warehouse entry and procedure.

Back to top


Warehouse entrance

Sale Shopping Procedure

Arrival and Entry
Saturday Sale
Sunday Sale
In the Warehouse and Purchasing
Taking Your Purchases Home

Arrival and Warehouse Entry

On Saturday, please do not arrive at the sale area before 6 a.m. On Sunday please do not arrive before 7 a.m.

All Saturday Sale tickets have a printed entry time. Entry times are listed in 15 minute increments. You will have the same entry time as many other shoppers.

On Sunday, all 8-9 a.m. tickets will have a printed entry time. Free, walk-up tickets for after 9 a.m. are ordered numerically, and your ticket number will be unique.

You are welcome on the sale grounds from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday. You may only enter the sale warehouse based on the time or number on your ticket (see procedures below). Once you have But you may stay on the sale grounds to shop the vendors; visit the raffle, auction, and crafts tents; watch the performers; or socialize with other shoppers as long as you want.

Saturday Sale Warehouse Entry Procedure

Once the time on your ticket has arrived, sale staff will permit you into the warehouse as soon as it has emptied enough to permit safe and comfortable shopping. If the sale warehouse is too full, your entry time may be delayed past the time printed on your ticket.

If you are concerned with entering the sale as soon as possible, you can wait in line with those holding the same ticket entry time as you in the designated waiting area. Sale staff will tell you as soon as your entry time has been called, and you will walk to the warehouse. Once your group is called, those in the waiting area will be admitted to the warehouse first. Those with limited mobility can go to a special waiting area with seating next to the warehouse door.

If you are not concerned with immediate entry you DO NOT have to stay in the waiting area. You can explore the vendors, crafts, and other activities on the sale grounds, and just periodically check at the warehouse entry door or the waiting area to see if your group has been called yet. After your group has been called you can enter the warehouse at any time, so you cannot miss your spot.

We will post current entry times at the door to the warehouse and in the waiting area. We will also have a mobile broadcast system which will announce entry times and other news on the sale day – more details to come later this spring.

Final entry on Saturday is at 2:45 p.m.

Sunday Markdown Sale Warehouse Entry Procedure

For those holding 8-9 a.m. tickets, the procedure will be identical to Saturday ticketed entry, by timed entry groups.

For those with free, walk-up tickets, sale staff will permit you into the warehouse by number as the warehouse has emptied enough to permit safe and comfortable shopping.

If you are concerned with entering the sale as soon as possible, you can wait in numerical order in the designated waiting area. Sale staff will tell you as soon as your number is called, and you will walk to the warehouse.

If you are not concerned with immediate entry you DO NOT have to stay in the waiting area. You can explore the vendors, crafts, and other activities on the sale grounds, and just periodically check at the warehouse entry door or the waiting area to see if your number has been called yet. After your number has been called you can enter the warehouse at any time, so you cannot miss your spot.

We will post current entry times at the door to the warehouse and in the waiting area. We will also have a mobile broadcast system which will announce entry times and other news on the sale day – more details to come later this spring.

Final entry on Sunday is 11:45 a.m. or when all merchandise has been sold, whichever comes first.

Volunteers at checkout with numbers

In the Warehouse and Purchasing

Once you are admitted into the warehouse there is no limit on how long you can shop; however, we ask that you do so efficiently so as to permit waiting shoppers to enter as soon as possible. Please be respectful of other shoppers. Owing to the limited space, you will need to keep moving while you are shopping. Please do not stand in one area to tally purchases or wait for others.

Please note that you will need to carry all of your items within the warehouse—wheeled carts or wheeled bags are not permitted. Very large reusable shopping bags are for sale in the waiting area, and a limited number may also be for sale in the warehouse. You may also bring your own bags.

You may only enter the warehouse once per ticket, so please make sure you have picked up all the items you wish to purchase. There is very poor cell reception within the warehouse, so anyone who needs to weigh in on a purchasing decision should have a ticket and enter with you.

When you are ready to check out please join the exit line. When you get to the head of the line, a volunteer will escort you to a tally station. There, another volunteer will make a list of all of your goods and their prices and give you an invoice. You will then take the invoice and items to a cashier who will accept your payment and give you a receipt. After paying you will exit the warehouse. A guard will quickly check your items and receipt to ensure that all items have been paid for.

Family leaving sale with bag

Taking Your Purchases Home

Once your purchase is complete you may carry your items out yourself, take them to the UPS store to ship them home, or volunteers with shopping carts can help you transport your items to the loading area.

If you wish to use the loading area, you will be able to leave your items in a numbered shopping cart with a volunteer while you go to get your car. Your cart number will be written on your receipt, which you will take with you. You will get your car and drive it to the loading area, and present your numbered receipt to reclaim your items. Please be as efficient as possible in bringing your car around, and double check that you are claiming the correct cart and items. Once your car is loaded you will need to remove it. If you wish to return to the sale area you will need to re-park your vehicle and walk back in.

You may only enter the warehouse once per ticket, but you are welcome to stay on the sale grounds until the sale closes at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Back to top


Girl looking at doll and dress for sale from vendor

Other Sale Activities

Vendor Fair

There will be over 40 crafters on site at the sale. Seamstresses and craftsmen sell 18″ doll clothes, furniture, accessories, and other custom-made items. On Saturday a food vendor will sell food and drinks.

Event Raffle

The raffle will include a variety of American Girl items. Tickets are $1 each for a chance to win. All proceeds support Madison Children’s Museum.

Silent Auction

The silent auction typically features American Girl products that are no longer available or not easily purchased. All proceeds support Madison Children’s Museum.

Girls crafting together

Activities Area

Our play area is a wonderful place for your children to have some creative fun, including making a craft to take home.

Off-Site Activities at Madison Children’s Museum

We encourage shoppers to visit the museum and experience the wonderful exhibits and activities that you help support with your purchases. During the weekend of the sale, Madison Children’s Museum often offers activities and workshops created with doll enthusiasts in mind. 2018 event details will be posted here in early summer.

Back to top


Area Info

Learn more about our host town at Middleton Tourism Commission. Find out more about Madison and the surrounding area at Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Back to top


Hotel Accomodations

In early spring we open room blocks at nearby hotels. Participating hotels are all located in Middleton, approximately two miles from the sale. 2018 blocks have not yet been created. Subscribe to our email list or follow our Facebook page for announcements about hotels.

Previously participating hotels include:

  • Courtyard Marriott
  • Residence Inn/Marriott
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites/Marriott
  • Hilton Garden Inn

There are a limited number of rooms in these blocks. So, once they are available, please do not delay reserving a room.

Back to top


Questions?

If you have any questions that can’t be answered with the information above, please email our American Girl Benefit Sale Coordinator.

Get the Latest News

Get information and updates on merchandise and more by subscribing to our email list or follow us on Facebook.

Back to top

© 2018 Madison Children's Museum | Privacy Policy