Gift Shop

Museumist 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts for Music Lovers

Photo by Claude Valette via Flickr.

Photo by Claude Valette via Flickr.

Any lover of music should appreciate Kandinsky, the abstract artist who once said: “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” Consider a print of his work or maybe a notecard set.

Photo from Smithsonian Store.

Photo from Smithsonian Store.

If you have a  jazz aficionado on your list, consider a comprehensive box set from the Smithsonian—Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology—which explores the genre over six CDs and a 200-page companion book.

Photo from MCA Store.

Photo from MCA Store.

The touring exhibition David Bowie Is was a smash when it launched at the V&A, and it is currently enjoying great success at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Why not share the wonderful world of this music icon with your friends and family by gifting the official exhibition catalog (V&A hardcover or MCA softcover)?

Photo from MCA Store.

Photo from MCA Store.

Perhaps you’re in the market for a less bulky David Bowie offering? Consider these rather awesome lightning bolt earrings.

Photo from Grammy Museum Store.

Photo from Grammy Museum Store.

Having worked in a museum gift shop, t-shirts are a common request (along with the absurd and impossible request for a small, lightweight catalog of the museum’s entire collection, but I digress…) Try this comfortable-looking offering from the Grammy Museum.

Photo from Ashmolean Museum Store.

Photo from Ashmolean Museum Store.

If your gift recipient is a little more classical in their musical leanings, the catalog from the Ashmolean’s relatively recent Stradivarius exhibition might catch their fancy.

Photo from Autry Museum Store.

Photo from Autry Museum Store.

Let’s say someone’s response to the question “What do you want for Christmas this year?” was “Sing me a song of the saddle,” then I have the perfect gift idea for you. Cowboy Songs, a 62-song collection sold at the Gene Autry Museum, will be a perfect addition to any cowboy crooner lover’s playlist.

 

Photo from Goodreads.

Photo from Goodreads.

Another gem from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum: winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction, Just Kids is a memoir of singer-songwriter Patti Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in 1960s New York.

 

Photo from Neue Gallerie Shop.

Photo from Neue Gallerie Shop.

The Neue Gallerie in New York is wonderful for coffee lovers because of its Viennese-inspired cafes, and art lovers get to enjoy glittering Klimt’s in the galleries, but music lovers can find their spot in the gift shop where books delve into operatic maestro Richard Wagner or a visual look at Mahler.

 

Photo from EMP Store.

Photo from EMP Store.

Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind, a publication exclusively made for Seattle’s Experience Music Project, is an essential guide to the punk rock scene.

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Museumist 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts for Foodies

Photo by Edward Blake via Flickr.

Photo by Edward Blake via Flickr.

Wisconsin’s Mustard Museum is a regular member of the “Can you believe there is a museum about this?” club. But, if you’re a mustard lover like me, you think it makes total sense. Plus, their store has plenty on offer. Try giving a Gourmet Mustard Gift Set or some mustard making supplies.

Photo by Geraint Rowland via Flickr.

Photo by Geraint Rowland via Flickr.

Food: Our Global Kitchen, the tasty exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in D.C., will whet your appetite. So, it’s a good thing that they have a Test Kitchen serving up tasty treats through late February.

Photo from Barnes Foundation Shop.

Photo from Barnes Foundation Shop.

The Barnes Foundation has six teas whose flavor profiles reflect a particular artwork or artist in the foundation’s collection. Think Renoir Rooibos, Gauguin Mango, and Cezanne Citrus.

Photo by Howard Lake via Flickr.

Photo by Howard Lake via Flickr.

Do you know someone who complains about how there aren’t enough food museums out there? Well, help them get New York’s first food museum with exhibits you can eat up and running by donating to the Museum of Food and Drink.

yeschef

The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis celebrates all things Swedish, including its yummy Scandinavian cuisine. So, it’s no surprise to see that they have renowned Swedish-Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef for sale in their gift shop. You can buy it online, but if you buy it at the museum you can give yourself a present by eating lunch at their delicious Fika restaurant.

Photo from British Library Shop.

Photo from British Library Shop.

What do you buy someone with a large collection of cookbooks? How about another cookbook, but this one is a beautifully illustrated take on 14th and 15th century dishes and dining.

Photo from goodcandlebk.com.

Photo from goodcandlebk.com.

Instead of traditional pine-scented candles, gift the tummy-rumbling scents of fig, basil, or rosemary instead. Good Candle makes hand-poured soy wax candles in Brooklyn and you can buy online or at the following museums: Museum of Arts and Design, Brooklyn Museum, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Photo from Brooklyn Museum Shop.

Photo from Brooklyn Museum Shop.

Because Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Mondrian cake. Modern Art Desserts.

Photo from Lower East Side Tenement Museum Shop.

Photo from Lower East Side Tenement Museum Shop.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s gift shop is full of amazing books, and more than a few cover food related topics. For instance, The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread sounds like an interesting read.

Photo from SFMOMA Store.

Photo from SFMOMA Store.

Museum gift stores can actually be great places to pick up amazing kitchen gadgets and home goods, like this Stainless Steel French Press at SFMOMA.

Photo by llee Wu via Flickr.

Photo by llee Wu via Flickr.

Yes, I know that the post promised you 10 gifts, but here’s a bonus gift, and guess what? It’s free. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world leader in promoting sustainable seafood consumption, and their free Seafood Watch App will help you buy and eat your fruits from the sea responsibly.

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Museumist 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts for Natural History and Science Lovers

muttercover

Museums devoted to medical history, techniques and tools are not for the faint of heart, and Philadelphia’s famous Mutter Museum is no exception. But, if you have a budding doctor or someone into morbid medical oddities on your gift list this year, Dr. Mutter’s Marvels might be a book worth looking into.

drystore

London’s Natural History Museum is so much more than just an architectural gem, and its varied assets come alive in Dry Store Room No. 1, an enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at the institution and its collections.

birdbingo

Basic enough for kids, beautiful enough for adults, Bird Bingo satisfies all ages of nature lovers.

viewmaster

Photo from Museum of Jurassic Technology Store.

For a slightly wacky gift, look no further than the slightly wacky Museum of Jurassic Technology. Perhaps an old-school View-Master box set complete with six reels of items in the museum’s collection–I particularly like the one about the Dogs of the Soviet Space Program–is just what you need.

Photo by nekonomania via Flickr.

Photo by nekonomania via Flickr.

Know a rock hound in need of a gift? Classroom style mineral kits, ranging from a few to a hundred samples, are a beautiful, tactile, and educational present choice.

Photo from Chicago History Museum Store.

Photo from Chicago History Museum Store.

Keep topographic time with a Terra Watch in sandblasted stainless steel.

Photo from Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Store.

Photo from Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Store.

Laura Zindel’s gorgeous nature-themed tableware–Beetle Mugs are just the beginning–is sold nationwide and can be found at many museum stores.

Photo from American Museum of Natural History Store.

Photo from American Museum of Natural History Store.

A notebook or journal is always a good stocking stuffer. Try one with an eye-catching selection from AMNH’s Rare Book Selections.

Photo by greyloch via Flickr.

Photo by greyloch via Flickr.

If you’re interested in more of a non-material gift, pick up some tickets for a National Geographic Live event near you. This international program of lectures, films, and concerts brings the natural world to you. Explore aboriginal Australia in Kansas City, chase rivers in Calgary, or journey to Untamed Antarctica in sunny L.A.

Photo from Field Museum.

Photo from Field Museum.

Museums occasionally come out with cute and interesting ways for supporters to donate, and the Field Museum has found a winner with its Adopt a Dino offer. Donate in your dinosaur-crazed nephew’s name this holiday season and present him with his very own adopted T-Rex or Brachiosaurus.

 

 

 

Gift Shop

9 Simple Rules for Visiting a Museum Gift Shop

Photo by dullhunk via Flickr.

Ah, the museum gift shop. Many a visitor has dropped a penny or two in these lands of postcards and other pretty things. Gift stores are an opportunity to take a piece of the museum, or a piece of the museum experience, home with you. However, they are also battlegrounds of bad behavior. Here’s a handy guide for minding your manners and getting the most out of your gift shop visit.

  1. Gift shop workers are there to serve you. They are not your servants. It’s a fine line.
  2. Be aware that there are other people in the store. This means that you shouldn’t just stop in the middle of it. This also means that there is bound to be a tall person around to help you reach something on a high shelf.
  3. There are no stupid questions, but…it’s a good rule of thumb to think before you speak.
  4. Try to put things back where you found them.
  5. If you really loved something in the museum, but there’s not a reproduction of it in the store, don’t freak out. Let the gift shop attendants know, they might be able to help or it could be considered for future purchases.
  6. Gift shop employees are great sources of information. Don’t hesitate to test their knowledge.
  7. Don’t haggle over the price. This is not a bazaar and it’s not like the sales tax was made up on a whim.
  8. Mention that you are a member, or inquire if you are eligible for a discount, before the transaction is processed. It saves everyone time.
  9. No museum has a catalogue of its entire collection. And, if they did, you wouldn’t be able to get it home. Instead, ask about what books or items come closest to what you’re looking for.

Any rules you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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Souvenir Silhouette

Via Country Living Magazine

It seems that silhouette art is having a bit of a comeback. Outlines of people, objects, and animals are popping up in wall art, bookmarks, stationary, and even surfboards. Personally, I rather like the trend. The images hearken back to times past and they are a blend of classy and whimsy in one. However, it wasn’t until today that I discovered that silhouette art has a museum connection.

Today, I found myself at the small but well-cared for Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, PA. Hidden amongst the period furnishings, Underground Railroad artifacts, and agricultural images was a random fact straight out of museum history.

—–

Charles Wilson Peale

At the beginning of the 1800s, Charles Wilson Peale opened the Philadelphia Museum, which was one of America’s first institutions of its kind. Later renamed the Peale Museum, his collection of natural history specimens was internationally renowned – the mammoth bones in particular drew significant attention. However, in spite of its popularity, America’s first museum faced the same issues that modern day organizations grapple with: lack of funding.

In order to make up for the lack of government funding, Peale was forced to resort to some creative ways of bringing in revenue (sound familiar anyone?). One such measure was silhouette art. People would come to the Peale Museum to have their silhouette taken, paid a small fee, and journeyed home with a treasured souvenir. Essentially, silhouette art was the predecessor to the world of museum souvenirs. That Mold-o-Rama gorilla you have from that trip to the zoo, a pressed penny that you had to pay a quarter for, your witty t-shirt from the science center you once visited, and even the David magnet on your fridge from your time in Florence – all of these wacky and wonderful momentos from your museum experiences can be traced back to outlines of 19th century ladies.

Museum Souvenir

Now, I am not saying modern day museum souvenirs are any less important to their owners than Peale’s offerings, but silhouette art seems much more personal than a History of Art coffee mug. Which leaves me wondering: are there currently any museums that offer one of a kind souvenirs like the silhouette art of old?

Gift Shop, Publications

A Museum Lover’s Gift Guide: Magazines

natgeo

Here are 5 glossy-paged publications to satisfy any museum fix…

1. Smithsonian Magazine. The granddaddy of them all, I’ve never not read one cover to cover. Plus, the ads in the back for large button cell phones are pretty hilarious.

2. Paper Monument: A Journal of Contemporary Art. There have only been three issues so far, but with articles like “How to Behave in an Art Museum,” “The Empire of Conversation,” and “Did Anyone Understand Chinese Art?” this is a publication worth adding to the pile on your coffee table.

3. Museums Journal. First published in 1901, this monthly offering from the Museum Association tackles it all: museum ethics, exhibits, profiles, book reviews, work practices, and more.

4. National Geographic. Whether it is the yellow borders on the cover that never fade, the stunning photographs, or the incredibly well-written articles, this magazine is consistently good. It’s always nice to enjoy yourself when learning new things.

5. Monocle Magazine. Not specifically about museums, but this British magazine covers art, design, politics, fashion, curation, international affairs, quality of life, and on and on. Sort of like a more artistic Economist.

Gift Shop, Publications

A Museum Lover’s Gift Guide: Books

Here are 5 books a museum-lover might want to add to their library…

gift1

1. Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth is an (almost) comprehensive look at the bugs, birds, birches and more that call our planet home.

gift2

2. Rogue’s Gallery: The Secret Story of Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Michael Gross. At times, this glimpse at the building of the Met reads a little slow, but for anyone interested in the history of some of our nation’s biggest movers and shakers or museums in general, this is a must read.

gift3

3. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel. What’s not to like? War heroes vs.  Nazis, the hunt for priceless works of art, the triumph of good over evil all set against a WWII backdrop.

gift4

4. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson. If you’ve ever looked at a piece of modern art and thought: “That’s worth what?!?!”, then this book might go a ways toward helping you understand the crazy world of contemporary art.

gift5

5. Ape House: A Novel by Sara Gruen. If you loved Water for Elephants, you know that Gruen is extremely gifted at bringing the emotions of animals to life. So, if you have a zoo or animal lover on your list, this might be a good last minute gift.

What museum-related books will you be purchasing this holiday season?

Gift Shop

The 2nd Annual Museumist Gift Guide and Museum Holiday Roundup

lions

That’s right, it’s the Holiday Season, and we’re ready to celebrate. Over the next month, we’ll be featuring gift ideas for the museum lover on your list as well as glimpses at how museums around the world ring in the holidays.

Growing up in Chicago, nothing seemed to signify that Christmas was on its way more than the wreathing of the lions at the Art Institute. The proud lion statues just look so smashing in their snow-dusted winter finery. Typically, the neck decoration of choice has been your run-of-the-mill green wreath with red bow, however, in 2009, the Art Institute made a little change. Yves Behar was asked to design the 2009 wreaths, and, while the result was a break with tradition, the red and yellow leafy wreaths were still in keeping with the spirit of the ceremony.

lions2

Thanks to the success of last year’s design, the Art Institute have commissioned this winter’s wreath from the Chicago-based artistic team of Stephanie and Bruce Tharp. To create their wreath, the Tharps had area school children write down their wishes for 2011. Then, they put those wishes inside 2,011 orbs of varying shades of red, which would eventually be assembled into a wreath that combined “the traditional American cranberry wreath with the idea of a wishing tree.” The result looks pretty nice.

The wishes included in the wreath range from the thoughtful…

  • “Love. For everyone to love more than they hate.”
  • “A cure for cancer.”
  • “To stop global warming! I love penguins!”

…to those that tackle life’s most-pressing issues…

  • “I wish there was an 8th Harry Potter.”
  • “I hope we make flying cats.”
  • “For to have lots of lolly pops.”

What is your wish for 2011?

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Gift Guide Continued

This edition of the Gift Guide will be a bit all over the place, but a little variety never hurt anyone. So, here goes…

things

More Things Like This by the editors of McSweeney’s. Found thanks to the excellent Curatedmag.com and available through Chronicle Books, this visual and literary mishmash proves to be the perfect recipe of one part high-brow, a little low-brow, a dash of humor, and whole lot of interesting.

fieldnotes

Field Notes from Coudal Partners. These handy-dandy notebooks – or, in the words of Coudal, “An honest memo book worth fillin’ up with good information” – are an excellent and inexpensive gift for a budding-archaeologist, angsty teenage poet, people that need-lined-paper-to-avoid-writing-in-a-slant, doodlers, the chronically forgetful, notebook-lovers, and so many more.

moleskin

Like Field Notes? The you might like these Moleskin Museum Sketchbooks too. Come in 6 different colors. Moleskine Museum Sketchbook – 6 pack: Assorted Colors (1 of each color) 6 total

Things for both guys and girls at CultureLabel.com. For a vintage-loving ladyfriend, how about a one-of-a-kind bag from Lisa Tilly. Still not sure what to get your boyfriend? They have a helpful Gifts for the Boyfriend feature to help you out.

spy

The Handbook of Practical Spying from the International Spy Museum. This gift would be a great gift for someone interested in spies and espionage. However, do you know someone who is nosy that could use some help being more discreet? This book may help deliver the hint. International Spy Museum’s Handbook of Practical Spying

audrey

Fifty Dresses That Changed the World from the Design Museum. Anyone interested in fashion or design will find something to like about this compilation, even if it is only debating which dresses should have made the cut. Fifty Dresses That Changed the World

morris

Trying to get your wife or girlfriend more interested in tools? Try this William Morris-inspired tool set from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Pretty and functional, the perfect gift.

Gift Shop

Holiday Gift Guide Part II

artifact

This holiday season, consider giving the gift of adoption. We’re not talking puppies or babies here, but rather artifacts. Adopting a museum artifact is kind of like naming a star for someone or purchasing a portion of the rainforest for your eco-conscious sister, only better. I mean, how often will they get to see their star or actually visit that plot of vegetation?

Here are some museums offering Adopt-An-Artifact Programs…

Chicago History Museum

The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

NC Museum of History

Penn Museum

Nanaimo Museum

Friends of the Queen Anne’s Revenge

And for next year: The Galt Museum (their annual Adopt-an-Artifact fundraiser ended on November 30th)

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