By Judith Kirkwood
Museum gift shops are great places to find unique accessories and home decor items themed to their collections. They’re also perfect places to pick up art books, distinctive cards, tasteful toys, and offbeat surprises. Here are five of my favorites.
True to the museum’s theme, their gift shop sells a stunning collection of paperweights and other glasswork by international artists, including botanically accurate flower representations and designs that mimic fireworks, candies, and kaleidoscopes. Extraordinary - and a 2009 nominee for a NICHE Top Retailers Award in the category of Best Museum Store.
Find scarves and purses, glass vases, raku pots that evoke imaginary countries, a juicer that looks like a rocket ship, all in downtown Madison at the Overture Center for the Arts. Delightfully eclectic. You can shop the store’s on-line annex, or you can register gifts for weddings, birthdays or baby showers.
More like a house party than a store. Sample mustards made with microbrewed beer, exotic fruits, or edible flowers--everything from Elizabethan Cannonball Mustard with Garlic to Maine Maple Champagne Mustard; 5,100 different mustards in all. Festive and fun. Select individual mustards, gift boxes, Poupon U T-shirts, even mustards with your picture on the label.
Anything to do with flight, from airplane salt and pepper shakers to warbird ceiling fans to model kits; you can even find gift certificates for plane rides at Pioneer Airport. Perfect gift ideas for high-flyin’ aviation buffs.
In a fabulous building designed by Santiago Calatrava, the museum store is full of natural light and one of-a-kind gift selections of jewelry, books, posters, clothing, personal accessories, and art objects, many representing current and past exhibitions. Inspired.