May 27, 2007

The Gift Shops are Icing on the Museum Cake

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:12 am by classicalmusic

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a sucker for a good museum gift shop.  If all else fails, the gift shop is sure to please.

I am not ashamed to tell one and all that, universally, my favorite part of any museum is the gift shop.  I have never met a gift shop that I didn’t like and that I couldn’t spend hours in.  The gift shops (plural – there are many) at the Smithsonian are the best in the world, though the shop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY is a close runner up.  In fact, one of my reasons for going to the Smithsonian was because I was out of greeting cards and I needed to re-stock.  I ended up getting these cards that had engraved white-on-white imprints of old American patchwork quilt patterns and I love them.  When I give a gift I usually feel that the card is the best part.  A check is just a check, but the card that I enclose is special, or at least I think so.  And no matter what museum I’m in, I try to buy cards with images of the paintings I’ve just seen.  So I have Chagall cards and Rubin cards and Picasso cards and Georges Braque cards and Monet cards.  I usually don’t buy anything else from the museum gift shop, though there are some unique things that you can’t find anywhere else.  I remember that my Mom used to get the catalogue from the Met in the mail around Christmas time and she once ordered a pair of silver snowflake-patterned earrings.  I have those earrings now and when I wear them I think of her, of the museum, and of winter in NY – great memories, all.

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