ESSE Purse Museum
ESSE Purse Museum by Toniklemm (CC BY-SA)

The Best Museum Gift Shops Across America

View Slideshow
Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more
ESSE Purse Museum
ESSE Purse Museum by Toniklemm (CC BY-SA)

Enter Through the Gift Shop

Not all gift shops are created equal. Wander around most of them, and you’ll likely find hokey keychains or branded T-shirts, but some shops go the extra mile — so much so, in fact, that they might be worth a trip all on their own (or at least some time spent virtual shopping). Whether it’s a wacky museum or a fine art gallery, these museums know how to sell a souvenir. Read on for some of the best museum gift shops across America. 


Related: Must-Visit Food Museums Across America


Whitney Museum of American Art
Whitney Museum of American Art by Karl Schultz (CC BY-NC-ND)

Whitney Museum of American Art

New York 


The Whitney Shop is located front and center when you enter the museum, and though it’s pretty compact for a gift shop, it’s incredibly well-curated. Shoppers can find prints and posters, jewelry, apparel, and books in price ranges that skew towards the expensive side but aren’t out of reach. Pick up a Bunny Rogers Orca Tooth Necklace, or an organic mobile made from hand-cut and forged brass. Looking for something summer-y? This Kenny Scharf hot dog beach towel should do the trick. 


Related: Free or Cheap Things to Do in New York City


Craft Contemporary
Craft Contemporary by Rosbit12 (CC BY-SA)

Craft Contemporary

Los Angeles 


With a focus on craftwork, it’s hardly a surprise that Craft Contemporary’s small but mighty gift shop sells products made with the utmost care. Inventory includes colorful button coin purses and handmade stuffed animals, along with earrings made from real rosemary sprigs and embroidered shoulder bags. Craft also offers a slew of maker kits so that you can cultivate your inner artist, with options to carve and cast your own ring or tackle bookbinding


Related: Cool Under-the-Radar Destinations for Art Lovers


National Building Museum
National Building Museum by soomness (CC BY)

National Building Museum

Washington, D.C. 


The National Building Museum gift shop has won awards for its wares, and rightfully so. Here you can find books, toys, stationary, watches, and apparel, all with a nod to themes of architecture, engineering, and buildings. Find decorative notecards inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, or a Farnsworth House wooden model kit. There are plenty of items that cater to Washingtonians, too, from earrings that depict a D.C. street map to a spoon featuring D.C. row houses. Looking for wooden yard dominoes? The shop has that, too.  


Related: Bucket List Buildings in America You Need to Visit


Tenement Museum
Reading Tom / Flickr

Tenement Museum

New York 


Arguably one of the coolest museum gift shops in New York, the Tenement Museum shop has a slew of quirky gifts that go beyond mugs and T-shirts (though it has those, too!). Bagel salt and pepper shakers can add a little joy to your table, while a cross stitch clock set invites you to stitch your own working clock. An expansive cookbook selection features books like “The Dim Sum Field Guide,” “Little Book of Jewish Feasts,” and “Pie for Everyone: Recipes and Stories from Petee’s Pie, New York’s Best Pie Shop.” Pick up a few items after exploring the museum, which tells the story of working-class tenement residents in New York City. 


For more great travel guides and vacation tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.


Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum by jpellgen (CC BY-NC-ND)

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe, New Mexico


Beloved American painter Georgia O’Keeffe is celebrated at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, where visitors can take in her works centered around the natural world and, in particular, New Mexico landscapes. At the gift shop, you can take home a little bit of the artist: A wool gaucho hat inspired by O’Keeffe’s personal style, desert perfume reminiscent of New Mexico’s high country, a dotted skull bandana, or a puzzle depicting various women in the art world. There are books, too, and an impressive tea collection, from high desert sage tea to Celtic mint tea.


Heinz History Center
jpellgen / Flickr

Heinz History Center

Pittsburgh 


You know the Heinz brand from its iconic ketchup bottle, but the Heinz History Center is primarily about the history and heritage of Western Pennsylvania. Still, you’d be remiss if you didn’t pick up a few quirky condiment-related items at the gift shop, from a Heinz pickle beanie to a "I Put Ketchup on My Ketchup" T-Shirt. Mister Rogers fans will find all kinds of memorabilia here, including a “Be My Neighbor” tote bag, greeting cards, and children’s books depicting the Pennsylvania native. 


Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Art Museum by David Hilowitz (CC BY)

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee 


What started as Milwaukee’s first art gallery has blossomed into a museum that holds 30,000 works of art. After perusing the Milwaukee Art Museum's collections of contemporary, European folk, and media arts, head to the gift shop for delicate Chihuly studio edition sculptures, prints, and posters. Need a little something to spruce up your kitchen? A viking ship sandwich board and spreader is a nice addition, as is a Spanish paella pan and a ramen spoon fork, a stainless steel invention by designer Masami Takahashi that allows diners to twirl noodles and scoop up soup in one easy motion.


The Mütter Museum
Terry Robinson / Flickr

The Mütter Museum

Philadelphia 


Filled with anatomical specimens and medical tools, the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is not for the faint of heart. But for those wanting to learn more about the intricacies of the human body and the history of a disease, it’s a great place to explore — and to shop. It might be hard to find a mega colon plush anywhere else, or a brain wax stamp that gives stationery a bit of character. Some other unique finds include antique anatomy tarot cards, a plague doctor cookie cutter, and, for those who need to add some pizzazz to their refrigerators, teeth magnets


Museum of Craft and Design
Museum of Craft and Design by Karl Schultz (CC BY-NC-ND)

Museum of Craft and Design

San Francisco 


The award-winning shop at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design is a tribute to makers in the world of — what else — craft and design. Sleek bags representing Korean street fashion are available alongside felt card wallets and handwoven Jamdani cotton scarves. The shop offers some beautiful stationery here as well, along with a selection of jewelry that ranges from necklaces by Amsterdam designer Uli Rapp to modern earrings by enamelist Kat Cole. There’s something for the little ones, too: handmade sidewalk chalk, finger puppets, and a crochet rattle that looks good enough to eat.  


ESSE Purse Museum
ESSE Purse Museum by Toniklemm (CC BY-SA)

ESSE Purse Museum

Little Rock, Arkansas


It comes as no surprise that a museum dedicated to purses has a truly excellent purse shop attached to it. The ESSE Purse Museum explores the 20th-century American woman through handbags, using physical purses, photography, and other mediums to examine the historical context of women’s lives during this time. At the shop, bags are the focus, from a colorblock pouch and a fish clutch to a lipstick handbag and a minimalistic backpack. But you can also find wallets, books, jewelry, and cards, along with linen towels and vibrant scarves.


Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Museum of Fine Arts Boston by Kzirkel (CC BY-SA)

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Boston 


As Boston’s largest art museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston hosts nearly half a million works that touch on Ancient Egyptian sculptures, European paintings, and contemporary media. The gift shop is just as varied. Chopstick sets are sold alongside Van Gogh pocket journals, while vases painted with Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa can be picked up along with Frank Lloyd Wright garden socks. It’s also a great place to purchase stationery, with notecards highlighting some of the museum’s most prominent collections and artists.


MoMA
MoMA by Joseph O. Holmes (CC BY-NC-ND)

Museum of Modern Art

New York 


As one of the most highly regarded art museums in the world, MoMA's collections highlight engaging contemporary and modern art. But the MoMA Design Store is worth global recognition, too. In it you’ll find products for the home and office, for kids and adults, and for holidays or “just because” days. Functional design is emphasized in items like the Bio Componibili storage bin, reversible lid ice box, and HAY PC portable lamp, but many of the pieces also take on a playful tone. This La Mamatoco rocker chair will brighten any living room, while this Yayoi Kusama pumpkin coin purse will ensure you never lose your loose change again.


Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA)
National Mustard Museum
©TripAdvisor

The National Mustard Museum

Middleton, Wisconsin


Mustard fiends would be wise to skip the grocery store and instead visit the National Mustard Museum’s gift shop to stock up on their mustard of choice. The museum, dedicated to all things mustard, has an equally compelling inventory of the condiment for sale at its shop, offering a best- sellers gift box with a selection of all-star mustards as well as individual jars of the good stuff. Find mustards from France, Germany, Ireland, and beyond, along with other gourmet goods that would pair well with mustard. Non-edible items include a mustard hoodie and ceramic mustard pots.


Related: Bucket List Destinations for Foodies


The Historic New Orleans Collection
The Historic New Orleans Collection by Infrogmation of New Orleans (CC BY)

The Historic New Orleans Collection

New Orleans 


The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center, and publisher highlighting the history and culture of New Orleans (and the Gulf South in general). In its gift shop, New Orleans style reigns supreme, with a selection of vibrant ties and bow ties, scarves, and bags. A sizable home good selection boasts colorful pillows and nightlights that use artwork from the museum archives, and visitors can find plenty of Mardi Gras-themed gifts to pick, including “The Big Book of King Cake,” a flambeaux lapel pin, and king cake earrings


Discover more travel-worthy destinations across America right here.