OK, so as a true museum fan I don’t visit museums solely for the shops but they are certainly a welcome treat after hours of gazing, reading and exploring all the museum has to offer. However, after reading The Guardian’s ’10 of the best museum shops around the world’ it got me thinking about my own top ten. So here’s a selection of some the most beautiful and creative museum shops:
1. London Tate Modern, London
Opened in 2000 in London’s iconic Bankside Power Station the Tate Modern is now at the heart of London’s modern art scene. Its shop has a wonderful selection of literature and art prints, as well as beautiful stationery (and other bits and bobs) embellished with the iconic Tate Modern silhouette.
Source: David Pearson/Alamy.
2. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
As a museum dedicated to art and design it is no surprise that the V&A’s shop is at once beautiful and inspirational. The selection of books, prints and art is a haven for many. Go on and treat yourself!
Source: David Pearson/Alamy
3. The Coffin Works, Birmingham
If you haven’t heard of The Coffin Works I can only implore you do go and find out what it’s all about! Housed in the historic Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham the Coffin Works was owned by the Newman Brothers who produced some of the world’s most famous and well-crafted coffin furniture. You might expect the whole experience including the shop to be, well frankly, morbid but actually the museum interprets the story of the Coffin Works as a great local success story. The shop sells great gifts including chocolate skeletons, skull t-shirts and lovely mugs.
Source: @CoffinWorks (Twitter)
4. The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
The National Museum of Scotland is impressive for its space alone. Designed by branding agency Small Back Room the retail space is built within the beautiful stone vault of the museum. The two shops sell a range of beautiful local products, great gifts for kids as well as a fantastic selection of books.
Source: Small Back Room
5. The Museum of Modern Art, Sydney
Situated close to the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge, MoMA plays host to a variety of international art. Hand crafted gifts fill the shelves of the shop including bone china bird feeders, life size geometric deer heads and art prints.
Source: The Guardian
6. The Jewish Museum, Berlin
Run by Munich-based company Cedon, which specialised in museum shops, The Jewish Museum Berlin has a wonderful range of literature and gifts including postcards and posters specifically designed for the museum. But perhaps its greatest strength is its impressive range of literature on Judaism in Germany, largely thanks to close collaboration with Rachel Salamander, a leading expert on Jewish Literature in the German language.
7. Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby
Small in size but big in its offering, the shop at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery has an eclectic and unique selection of gifts created by local artists and makers. Jewellery, ceramics and stationery are just a few examples.
Source: Derby Museums.
8. The British Museum, London
Did you know The British Museum has a range of rubber ducks for every exhibition it organises? Aside from its vast collection of bath birds the shop is not only within a beautiful space (the famous covered courtyard) but offers a great variety of unique products. Aside from the usual books and nic nacs the shop sells a wide range of sculptures, beautiful chess sets and silk scarves.
Source: Small Back Room.
9. Musee Marmottan, Paris
If you have any appreciation of Claude Monet the Musee Marottan in Paris is a must-see. Seeing Monet’s ‘Impression, Sunrise’ up close for the first time is an unforgettable experience. The shop does not fall into the trap of reproducing Monet’s masterpieces in every way imaginable (think tatty mouse mats and chip board coasters). Instead, much of the shop is taken up by art supplies. So you can leave the museum feeling inspired and, if you like, go away with supplies to create your own works of art!
10. Musee Rodin, Paris
Some of Rodin’s most famous works of art are displayed within the setting of beautiful gardens in the heart of Paris. Whilst it is impossible to recreate the beauty and feeling of the original, the shop sells beautiful sculptures as well as fascinating and informative literature on the controversial sculptor.
What are you favourite museum shops?