New York Museum gift shops: bespoke vacation shopping destinations
If you’re visiting New York City or living in the metro area and looking for a truly special holiday gift, stop by one of the city’s beautiful museum gift shops.
These shops have selections of memorable items for everyone on your gift list and may even inspire some impulse buys so you can take home your own share of the Big Apple.
NYC GO, the city’s official convention and tourism bureau, describes more than 70 museums in the five boroughs, a number of which have gift shops.
Not planning on going to New York this year? No problem.
The museum’s gift shop websites provide a convenient way for shoppers to browse eye-catching electronic catalogs and shop online. Along with special holiday items, these boutiques go far beyond the ubiquitous pretty postcards with a unique range of designer and reproduction jewelry, scarves, books, prints, toys, decorative items, utensils. cooking and more.
Buying something from a museum gift shop also multiplies your holiday gifts, as the proceeds from sales flow back to the institution, helping to provide essential support to the arts, including educational programs throughout. the year.
Many museums (in New York and around the world) are currently facing budget shortfalls due to pandemic-related closures and admission restrictions. So, especially now, income from sales in gift shops can be a major source of income.
Joining one or more of these museums as a member is another way to show your support for the arts and culture. It will also allow you to take advantage of member discounts, which often include free shipping.
Here is a small sample of shops to visit in New York. Be sure to check store hours and shipping times during the holidays on each of the websites.
MoMA design store
The Museum of Modern Art Gift Shop is one of the city’s largest and most well-known museum shops. Here, visitors can find interesting and innovative items, functional or whimsical, for the home and office. All products for sale are approved by the curator and meet the museum’s exacting design criteria.
In addition to the store opposite the museum on West 53rd Street, there is an additional NYC MoMA outpost in downtown Soho.
What You’ll Find: New and classic designs including lighting, technological innovations, tableware, home decor, jewelry, accessories and more. Holiday offerings include lighted glass trees, holiday ornaments, Advent calendars, and French chocolates.
New York Historical Society Museum Shop
The New-York Historical Society Museum Store is a New York treasure trove of creative, history-inspired gifts. Like many museum shops, gifts often reflect the museum’s unique exhibits. For example, Louis C. Tiffany’s timeless art and design are commemorated in puzzles, shawls, umbrellas, face masks and more, available in stunning patterns and colors.
What You’ll Find: Historical maps, Audubon watercolors, and engravings of city scenes make wonderful memories. Best sellers include a 100% silk Declaration of Independence tie, a she persisted book on 13 American Women Who Changed History and Tree Ornaments History Makers (including one by Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
The Met store
Gift purchases from the Metropolitan Museum of Art store support the Met’s “collection, study, conservation and presentation of 5,000 years of art.” Gifts, many of which are inspired by The Met Collection, range from modest to luxury, including the glittering Ottoman antique silver necklace and earring set featured in this year’s holiday catalog. A unique gift for families: the Met edition of Monopoly.
A second Met Store can be visited at the Met Cloisters in Washington Heights.
What you will find: Gifts for art lovers, jewelry, household and decor items, dinnerware, dinnerware, stationery and party cards, collectible Christmas decorations, calendars, clothes and books (for adults and children), and more.
The Guggenheim Museum Shop
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum The building is, in itself, an iconic piece of New York architecture. With art and architecture-inspired gifts inside, the Guggenheim store features stunning ceramics and glassware (part of the Modern 1959 Collection) inspired by the building’s cylindrical design.
The collection of unique mobiles, games and toys will delight children of all ages. Many gifts reflect the great artists presented in the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. Where can I find Kandinsky socks or a Kandinsky yellow tote bag?
What you will find: books, posters, prints, clothing and accessories for men and women, jewelry, hostess gifts and household items.
New York Museum of Public Transportation store
NYC has the distinction of having one of the oldest public transportation systems in the world, and the New York Transit Museum is charged with “collecting, exhibiting, interpreting and preserving” this history.
The museum’s two stores, one in downtown Brooklyn and the other in Grand Central Terminal, use the historic iconography of the city’s subways, buses, commuter trains, bridges and tunnels to create clothing, accessories and collectibles.
About 20% of the museum’s operating revenue is generated by stores. Unique vacation offerings include a North Pole metro style metal sign, the ‘Polar Express’ book, and metro car tree ornaments. One of the most popular gifts is the NYC token watch.
What you will find: Subway-themed interior decor (like tiles and tableware), clothing and accessories (for infants, toddlers, children and adults) and cards, calendars, puzzles, books, posters and prints. Most reasonably priced gifts make perfect stocking stuffers.
All museums adhere to vaccination policies that are part of the The Key to New York program. Visitors aged 12 and older must show proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to enter.
Other health and safety measures at museums may include mask requirements, social distancing, and timed entry. Check the websites of each museum for more details and information.