Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

33° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement

Museum stores offer shoppers artful holiday gift ideas

Instead of scrounging around for the usual holiday presents in CVS this year, head downtown and check out a museum.

Museum gift shops are nontraditional places to hunt for gifts, but several in the Chicago area stock their shelves with unique holiday finds.

“It’s a nice thing in case people just forgot to shop,” said Jeri Webb, director of museum stores for the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive. “They can dash in there to get a really fun thing that reminds their families of Chicago.”

The Field Museum store sells some holiday items based on Sue, its exhibit of the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The glass ornament, $39, pictures the dinosaur Sue and is hand-blown and painted in Poland. A brass ornament, $14, depicts the Sue skeleton as seen in the museum exhibit.

Ornamental glass trees can be found for $135 at The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Ave. The fir trees are hand-blown in Murano, Italy. With swirls of blue, green and red, the glass trees catch the light and can be used as decorative pieces.

Along with seasonal gifts, museum shops offer a wealth of interesting finds.

For the yoga lover, the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., stocks “Barbar’s Yoga for Elephants.” The instruction book, $16.95, gives tips on 15 yoga positions and stretches. It also provides advice on what to do with one’s trunk while practicing yoga.

And for the indecisive artist, the Buddha Board, $30.60, can be used to paint on again and again. Water turns the board’s surface dark. Within minutes the image fades away and a new image can be painted on.

For the astronomy and geography nut, head over to the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lakehore Drive. Museum Manager Linda Stucky said she tries to offer custom-made items so shoppers can have a tangible memory of their visit. The museum’s Infinity Shop sells high-powered telescopes and binoculars. For a closer view of Earth, the store offers the Esphera Globe Puzzle, $38.95. When the puzzle’s 540 pieces are assembled, they form a sphere.

Many items can be found for the traveler or the lover of exotic arts. Museum gift shops stock wares from various countries ranging from Africa to the Philippines.

The Art Institute store features a confetti paper vase from Vietnam. The vase, $46, utilizes a traditional Vietnamese weaving technique and is constructed entirely out of magazines and newspapers.

And a hand-carved love mask from Ghana is said to bring love to the one who displays it. The mask, $98, shows two separate faces melding into a larger faces.

With such an eclectic mix of items, museum gift shops are becoming regular stops for holiday shopping, Webb said.

“I think we’re seeing more and more people coming here, not necessarily to come to the museum, but shopping in the museum stores has become a little bit of destination for people in Chicago because we do have a lot of unusual things,” she said.

Reach Angela Chang at [email protected].

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Museum stores offer shoppers artful holiday gift ideas