Philly Museum Gift Shops That Just May Have the Perfect Present
Find unique holiday gifts while supporting your favorite museums.
For holiday shoppers struggling to decide what to buy, the gift shops of Philadelphia’s art museums, galleries and related sites offer the chance to shop local and find something special. Because museum and gallery store sales benefit the venue, shopping at them also provides a way to give back to the community. “Our gift shop is a very valuable source of income for Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens,” says visitor relations manager Stephanie Cabezas. “People are being more thoughtful about the way they spend their money.”
Woodmere Art Museum store director Stephen Kerzner notes that many shops have items that are made just for the venue, yet also provide a range of items to appeal to a broad customer base. “My philosophy is simple: Have something for everyone at every price point,” he says.
Museum Store Sunday is November 27th, but museum stores are a great source for gifts all season (and year) long.
Keep in mind that online shopping may be convenient, but visiting the brick-and-mortar stores presents opportunities to both avoid shipping anxiety and to take a pause from holiday chaos to pop in and see the exhibits. Be sure to check gift shop websites for holiday hours.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy Shop inside the nation’s oldest natural history museum is a must-visit, especially for little dino lovers. Toys, books, clothes (dinosaur raincoat, anyone?), and plenty of dino stuffies can be found — as well as nature-inspired activity kits, books and field guides, and real fossils and minerals. There’s also an adult side of the store with nature-inspired art, jewelry, and housewares. Need more tips? the Academy has a useful holiday gift guide. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Circle.
Naturally, the Barnes Foundation’s on-site and online gift stores feature a wide range of art-inspired items. Find a unique selection of homewares, books, jewelry, clothing and more inspired by the Barnes’ collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern art. They also have a nice assortment of toys and puzzles for the creative littles in your life. In addition to their regular collection, the store has special items to celebrate their current Modigliani exhibit. The museum also provides the opportunity for outside-the-gift-box thinking with art classes that could be just the right present for the art lover in your life. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Circle.
Betsy Ross House
Betsy lived, worked as an upholsterer, and sewed the first American flag here; the historical sites’s shop sells gifts including ornaments, flag reproductions, books, and counted cross-stitch kits. Plus, stop by for special holiday events: November 30th is the tree lighting, and December 18th is the menorah lighting. 239 Arch Street, Old City.
Eastern State Penitentiary
The former prison, a monument to American criminal justice history, is now known for its fortress-like architecture and crumbling interiors. The store‘s top sellers include a keychain with a replica of a prison front gate key and merchandise featuring famous former residents like Al Capone and Pep, an incarcerated dog. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Innovative contemporary works of fabric art are both created and exhibited at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. The store features unique home goods, accessories and clothing, including exclusive items created by featured artists especially for the museum. One highlight this year: a guidance deck made with hand-drawn imagery designed by artist-in-residence Rose B. Simpson. (You can check out her Dream House installation through March 26, 2023.) In addition to Museum Store Sunday deals, FWM is planning three Shop + Sip Saturdays in December when you can save 20 percent storewide. 1214 Arch Street.
The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute’s lobby-level gift shop is a destination unto itself, with no tickets required to visit. The store has toys, books, clothes and much more to satisfy your little (or big) science fan. And yes, they still sell that powdery astronaut ice cream we all tried when we were kids. They also create a different nerdy ugly-sweater-themed shirt every year as well, for some unique holiday attire. The Franklin Institute’s gift guide also offers membership and gift certificate options. 222 North 20th Street, Logan Circle.
Independence Seaport Museum
The Independence Seaport Museum has one of the largest collections of maritime art and artifacts in North America. Holiday gifts from the online-only store include Pirate Santa-themed clothing, mugs and ornaments; apparel and art celebrating the museum’s historic vessels Olympia and Becuna, cute otter reindeer items, and more for all ages. 211 South Columbus Boulevard, Old City.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Philadelphians know Laurel Hill Cemetery as the final resting place of prominent citizens, a peaceful green space dotted with sculptures and other art, and a National Historic Landmark. But the cemetery also has unexpected, offbeat gifts for the holidays. Check out the online shop for a range of spooky gift ideas: a coffin clutch, tombstone soap, an anatomical heart chocolate pop, a dozen skull eggs. The list goes on and on. 3822 Ridge Avenue, East Falls.
Museum of the American Revolution
For U.S. history buffs big and small, the gift shop at the Museum of the American Revolution is a dream come true. Gifts for the Revolutionary-minded, including books, figurines, prints, clothing and toys, can be found in the on-site gift shop and the online store’s Holiday Gift Guide. 101 South 3rd Street, Old City.
The Mütter’s collection of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments is intended to shed light on disorders of the human body and the history of disease treatment. Likewise, the on-site and online gift stores are filled with curiosities like this desk weight with a laser etching of the skeleton of a Cephalothoracopagus (a rare type of conjoined twins), a “Spit Spreads Death” face mask, these oddly adorable eyeball earrings, and informative books such as Dr. Mütter’s Marvels. 19 South 22nd Street, Fitler Square.
National Liberty Museum
One of NLM’s biggest draws is its collection of glass art, including Dale Chihuly’s iconic Flame of Liberty. So it’s no surprise that on-site and online gift shops offer a wide selection of glass art — plus local art and Philadelphia-inspired merchandise as well. 321 Chestnut Street, Old City.
Echoes of the museum’s ancient artifacts can be found in the on-site and online gift shops, along with accessories, books, and gifts for children. Popular holiday gifts include jewelry, like this replica of Queen Puabi’s necklace, a “Dig Kit” complete with tools that help kids lead their own archaeology expeditions, and one-of-a-kind art pieces. 3260 South Street, University City.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
A South Street slice of local art, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is covered by artist Isaiah Zagar’s mixed-media mosaics made from tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors, and international folk art. Visitors can roam the two indoor galleries and outdoor sculpture garden to find something new at every turn. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens’ on-site and online gift shops offer clothing, books, mugs, magnets and more featuring Zagar’s distinctive folk art designs. 1020 South Street, Bella Vista.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has not one, but three gift shops on site, plus an online store. The Main Store offers jewelry, ceramics, crafts, art supplies from around the world, and a children’s section. The American Gallery Store includes gifts made by local artisans, and the Design Store features modern design books and decor, among other things. From kids to grownups, there’s something for everyone on your list, no matter how classical or quirky. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Fairmount.
National Constitution Center
The U.S. Constitution takes center stage at the National Constitution Center, an interactive museum and a hub of constitutional education and debate. The on-site and online gift shops feature educational and Constitution-related items as well as more unusual gift options, such as a Constitution Quest game, a Presidential Pets mug, and the How Women Won the Vote coloring book. 525 Arch Street, Old City.
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
The shop at the Weitzman has an impressive collection of Judaica — from menorahs to mezuzahs, and everything in between — by artists like Michael Aram and Joy Stember. (Always a great Hanukkah gift for the parents.) They also have clothes, toys and books for the little ones, including this cheeky “Schmutz Happens” onesie. Other bestsellers include irreverent “Secret Jewish Space Laser Corps” items, OY/YO merchandise (a nod to the Deborah Kass statue installed out front upon reopening). Need more ideas? Check out the museum’s Hanukkah gift guide. 5th and Market streets, Old City.
Woodmere Art Museum
Located in a 19th-century mansion in Chestnut Hill, the Woodmere Art Museum showcases more than 8,000 works of art by Philadelphia-area artists, including a collection of local impressionist painters. Highlights of the on-site and online Museum Store include jewelry and glassware, as well as textiles and home decor. 9201 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill.