Dec 11, 2020|Tips|5 minutes
Find unique gifts while supporting museums and galleries
There’s one place you’re sure to find me at the end of a museum visit; the gift shop. After picking up a scone in the cafe (cream first then jam) I can spend hours browsing museum shops. There is something magical about the collection of items in a museum shop. In one place discover art history tomes, locally made delicacies, prints of your favourite masterpieces and the symbol of art and culture in 2020: the art face mask. The best museum shops always feel like entering a cabinet of curiosities.
In 2020 while visiting museum shops in person has been on hold for much of the year, browsing an online museum shop happens to be one of the best ways to support museums and galleries. Here’s our roundup of some of the best online museum shops outside of London to discover this Christmas!
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Talking of facemasks, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has taken inspiration from the current climate and given some of their most famous works an update. In the Fitzwilliam Museum shop masterpieces from the collection have found themselves donning Covid-19 compliant face masks.
Discover Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens’ La Liseuse (The Reader) donning a frilly white mask to match her dress, John Everett Millais’ The Bridesmaid in a yellow floral patterned mask and Bertholomeo Veneto’s 16th century Portrait of a Man in a festive holly print mask. Part of their Fitzwilliam Masterpieces 2020 collection I’m also partial to their ‘Keep your distance’ artisan London dry gin!
The Lowry, Manchester
Home to the world's largest public collections of paintings and drawings by LS Lowry the Lowry in Manchester offers a unique look at the artist’s work and their shop is no different. Alongside prints of some of Lowry’s most famous works you can find special Lowry self portrait notebooks and jigsaws of Lowry’s works including Lowry’s Market Scene, Northern Town. One of the most special offerings on the site however is the opportunity to Adopt a Lowry! Give a piece of art history this Christmas by adopting your loved ones favourite work and becoming part of the Lowry story.
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is the UK’s largest dedicated contemporary art institution. With a mission to create greater understanding of the world through contemporary art the BALTIC shop is full of the weird and wonderful. From a Nigel Farage plush doll cat toy to a sausage roll fridge magnet, head to BALTIC for a truly unique gift. I’m particularly fond of the David Shrigley opening hours mug for a work-from-home morning coffee.
Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, Beamish
Telling the story of everyday life in the North East of England, Beamish is a living open air museum preserving the region's industrial heritage. With a 1900s Pit Village, 1940s Farm and Edwardian Rowley Station Beamish is a fully immersive experience. The Beamish museum shop is no different - with throwback gifts and collections. Alongside a Beamish Museum special Monopoly set, pick up some Beamish Town Travel Poster Fudge and travel back in time with the Davy’s Fish Shop Bundle that includes a limited edition enamel sign and Davy’s Fried Fish and Chip Shop white chocolate!
Scottish National Galleries, Edinburgh
With three galleries across Edinburgh and iconic works including Sir Edward Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen, the Scottish National Galleries shop has all of your art fixes. One of their standout products - particularly for last minute shoppers - is their gift package selection. Lovingly curated you can choose between a gift package based on the vibrant palette of Robert Burns’ The Hunt, a Mabel Royds floral inspired gift package including thistle decoration and peppermints and the creative inspired gift package including artist essentials and all important artist brain fuel (salted caramel milk chocolate).
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Opened in 1901 Kelvingrove hosts a collection spanning from Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh! Kelvingrove’s online shop has everything you need for stocking fillers, home furnishings and unique works of art. Their Mackintosh collection is particularly impressive featuring a range of patterned products and even a Charles Rennie Mackintosh rubber duck! Alongside prints of Mackintosh’s work there are even unique pieces of Mackintosh inspired enameled pewterware to bring home - including this gorgeous 20cm enameled mantle clock.
Art and culture gifts bought directly from museums and galleries aren’t only unique - they directly support the work of our cultural institutions. So if you’re looking for something special this Christmas why not check out your local museum to really give a gift that keeps on giving.
Discover more museum shops and gifts in the Smartify App museum shop - bringing your favourite museum shops to one place including the National Gallery in London, Scottish National Galleries, Royal Armouries Museum and Belvedere Museum.