coolest museum shops

Museum shops always have the neatest stuff!  They are a reward for absorbing all that culture and stretching our brains exploring exhibits at museums.  The shops’ inventories are creative and unique.  You can find gifts that will please and impress the recipients.  The shops have fabulous prints of their collections that are an inexpensive way to decorate and liven up your walls.  The children’s departments have creative, fun and educational toys and games. A portion of all profits go to supporting the museums.  If you are a member of any of these museums, you’ll get discounts.  Here are some of our favorite museum stores, and a few we didn’t know about that our readers suggested.

The MoMA Store in New York City is one of our favorites! It has the usual museum store departments – fun stationary and journals, personal accessories, home accessories, prints, jewelry, kitchenware and games.  The MoMA store has many original and whimsical items that we have featured in many of our articles.  We love the umbrellas and the cork toast coasters, for example.

coolest museum shops

coolest museum shops, MoMa


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) is another well-stocked museum store. The colored pencils and other art supplies are great.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s store lives up to one’s expectations for such a magnificent institution.  The godfather of my middle daughter has given her a silver Christmas tree ornament every year since her birth.  The Met produces a Snowflake Ornament adapted from a different crystalline image in its collections.  The one pictured here is 2009.  They are offered in sterling silver or silver overlay.

The store offers jewelry, books, stationary, sculpture, wall art, home and apparel accessories, and it has an enormous children’s department.  Many of our favorite works of art have been beautifully reproduced and are for sale here.

coolest museum shops, Metrpolitan museum

Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) has a museum store called the Sideshow Shop. They sell original art at affordable prices, lots of handmade and fun costume jewelry, books, toys, scarves, glasses, all very creative and unusual. The downside is that they do not sell on line, so you can either call them if you see something you like on the store website (443-872-4926) or better yet, go to Baltimore!

coolest museum shope, American Visionary Art Museum

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. has an unusual gift shop.  This museum was created by Congress in 1980 to be “about the built environment and its impact on people’s lives”.

The gift shop sells books and media, home accessories, souvenirs from various exhibitions, desk and office items (we love these architecture rubber bands), posters, prints, items from featured designers, seasonal and ‘green’ items.

coolest museum shops, National Building Museum

The Cooper Hewitt Museum’s shop in New York City has a carefully edited inventory and a well laid-out website.  It has the wide variety of inventory that the above museum shops have.  We love this bottle opener for $20.00.

Cooper Hewitt, coolest museum shops

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has a wonderful shop.   It is really fun to visit because it is enormous, but their website is very thorough.  The prices are in pounds, but they sell and ship to the U.S.  We love this lavender fascinator in case the one you wore to the Royal Wedding got dirty.  The shop has gardening, Royal Wedding and textile sections in addition to the usual museum shop offerings.

Victoria and Albert's coolest museum shop

The Smithsonian Institution has a total of 19 museums.  Many of the museums have their own gift shops.  The Smithsonian’s online shop is a compilation from many of its museums’ inventories.

We love this giraffe herd for $59.98.  The giraffes range in height from 17” to 28”. The desk accessories are fantastic.

Smithsonian coolest museum shops

We love the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s shop because it has a marine and nautical inventory.  The website shows most of the inventory but does not offer the ability to purchase online.  To buy a item call 877-665-2665.

We love this 17” Leafy Sea Dragon for $9.99.

Monterey Aquarium's coolest museum shop

To browse other museum shops go to this site –