Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shopping Source: Museum Shop Gifts Under $50 Roundup

Iron Songbird $45
image from American Folk Art Museum
If you're still in the market for a few last-minute gift ideas, museum gift shops often have great finds.

MoMa is well-known for their great selection, but one of my favorite museum shops is American Folk Art Museum, for their creative and unique selection.

The selection of art books at any given museum will be outstanding, and most have beautiful jewelry and silk scarves as well.

Some museums even carry small pieces by artists who's work is not carried widely, so one can often find unique gifts in this unexpected shopping spot. It is worth peaking into the shop, even if one does not have time to go through the whole museum on that day.

Here are a few gift shop selections for under $50...

At just under six inches tall, this hand forged Iron Songbird hails from Vermont. The iron makes him a little masculine, balancing out his sweet pose, and making him a good gift for anyone.

Bird Clock with alarm $42
image from MoMa

If you'd prefer to give a bird that sings, this wood Bird Clock is a lovely little modern piece to display. He will gently wake his slumbering owner to chirping birds. Perfect for a city-dweller who craves a little more nature.

Grinning Cat Mug $24
image from American Folk Art Museum

Hand thrown and hand painted by an artist in Idaho, this Grinning Cat Mug is sure to cheer up both cat-lovers and the grumpiest of non-morning people, alike.

Art Book Vase $45
image from American Folk Art Museum

Art books are always a solid choice for gift-giving, and each of the museums has a huge selection to choose from. But this non-paper version, made from re-purposed building materials is, in itself, art. Wrap it up standing upright with flowers sticking out of the wrapping, and the flowers will act as a very intriguing bow.

Bureau Tray $45
image from American Folk Art Museum
Shaker designs are clean-lined enough to compliment the most modern of decors. The cherry wood warms up a stark abode, but also blends beautifully in a traditionally-outfitted home, or anything in between. This is a tray the recipient would use for the rest of his life.

Vintage Metal Thread $26
image from American Folk Art Museum
My wife's grandmother had a huge assortment of beautiful thread, and last year a few of the spools were passed on to me. The silver and gold threads are my favorite, and I use them only for very special projects. I am certain that anyone who enjoys working with a needle would love to receive this set of thread.

Loop Candelabra $30
image from MoMa
This is a lovely gift on its own, and an easy way to add a casual, yet interesting, focal point to a table or mantle. Give someone a set of these, or double the punch and give two sets -- the four candles intertwined would be even more eye-catching.

Interactive Speaker $38
image from MoMa
While I usually put my iPhone in a bowl to amplify the audio, this is a much more modern take, and appropriate for nearly everyone on one's list.

Blueprint Umbrella $45
image from The Frick Collection
Help make a gloomy, rain-filled day a little brighter by creating a mansion in the sky.

NYC Dish Towel $20
image from American Folk Art Museum
Have you seen the hand embroidered pillows available for different states? This dish towel has a similar idea, but is better suited for a wide range of decors, and costs an awful lot less.

Kangaroo Desk Organizer $38
image from MoMa
A fun and practical gift, this leather kangaroo holds all sorts of items in its pouches, and can even hold a note in its mouth. At over 9" tall, he would make a vibrant impact on a desk, or on a console by the front door.

All of the costs listed are the regular prices, but if one is a member at a museum, there is usually a 20% discount on items in the gift shop. So if one is wavering about becoming a member, doing it now in time for gift-buying, might make it the right time to sign up.

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