With hundreds of museums and cultural institutions located throughout the five boroughs, visitors can find distinctive holiday gifts that are unique to New York City at various museum and cultural institution shops throughout the five boroughs, including:
For more than 50 years, the American Folk Art Museum, located near Lincoln Center, has featured works from self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum’s gift shop sells a selection of unique folk art pieces, from home decor to jewelry, similar to the displays seen throughout the museum (folkartmuseum.org).
With products ranging from jewelry to puzzles, the American Museum of Natural History has gifts for all ages. The museum’s three-level store offers a different shopping experience on each floor, including The Museum Shop, The Shop for Earth & Space, Cosmic Shop, Dino Store and Exhibition Shops. Gift ideas include educational books and games, apparel, stuffed animals, gems and minerals, science kits, posters and fossil replicas (amnh.org).
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, known for its contemporary art exhibitions, will be launching a holiday pop-up shop in collaboration with Puerto Rican fair-trade retailer Concalma The Store through Thursday, January 15. The holiday shop will feature accessories, T-shirts, books, home goods and iconic handbags (bronxmuseum.org).
One of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the country, the world-renowned Bronx Zoo is open year-round. Visitors are encouraged to come when the weather cools down, as many of the animals are more active then, making for an entertaining visit. The zoo gift shop offers DVDs, books and more (bronxzoo.com).
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s garden shop has an extensive selection of bulbs and seeds, making great gifts for those on your list with a green thumb. The shop also carries garden supplies, books for adults and children, indoor plants, jewelry and apparel featuring the garden’s logo. Plants for sale include bonsai, orchids and tropicals (bbg.org).
With permanent collections featuring ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African art and European painting, the Brooklyn Museum is full of fascinating exhibits. Newly renovated in 2012, the Brooklyn Museum’s shop offers a variety of gifts including books, toys and prints. With a special section dedicated to Made in Brooklyn, visitors will find unique art, jewelry, bath products and apparel made by local artisans from the borough. (brooklynmuseum.org)
Staten Island’s Historic Richmond Town dates back to the colonial period, bringing alive American history with over 30 original structures and artifacts from the 17th century. The museum, which presents events, exhibits and concerts, also has a unique gift shop, featuring a wide selection of books discussing the history of Staten Island and, more specifically, Richmond Town (historicrichmondtown.org).
The Louis Armstrong House Museum celebrates the life and legacy of the famous jazz musician, set in his home in Corona, Queens. For music lovers, the museum store offers CDs, DVDs and books relating to Armstrong’s life, jazz history and African-American history. Additional gift ideas include tote bags, Frisbees, T-shirts and more (louisarmstronghouse.org).
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum offers three ways to view the museum: a walking tour of the neighborhood, various building tours and an interactive Meet the Residents tour featuring a costumed interpreter. The gift shop, located adjacent to the museum, features a wide selection of books and souvenirs related to New York City’s immigrant history, in addition to a range of unique children’s books and toys (tenement.org).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest museum in the nation, uniquely develops products based on collections being shown in the museum to be sold in its gift shop. Items sold include jewelry, home decor, textiles, stationery, printed reproductions, calendars and books, which can also be purchased via the museum’s online gift shop (metmuseum.org).
At the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), shoppers can find designer gift ideas, including glass, ceramics and wood for home decor; fashion accessories and jewelry; stationery, books and children’s toys. Some examples are bookends, menorahs, totes and bowls (madmuseum.org).
The Museum of the City of New York has a selection of New York City–themed products, ideal for those looking to share their NYC experience. Gift ideas include memorabilia, books, clothing and more from its NYC Subway Collection. A fun option is the Eat Like a New Yorker tote, which gives tips to fit in with the locals, like, “Fold your pizza in half the long way.” (mcny.org).
With multiple locations and offerings, the Museum of Modern Art has a lot to offer those looking for holiday gifts in New York City. At the flagship gift shop, visitors can purchase art reproductions, modern-design objects for homes and books for all ages (moma.org).
The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, is dedicated to the art, history, technique and technology of the moving image in all its forms. The museum’s gift shop has books for all ages, a wide selection of DVDs, and specially designed museum souvenirs that make for perfect gifts for film fanatics. Additionally, the museum hosts frequent book signings, offering the opportunity to give a personalized holiday gift (movingimage.us).
At the New Museum’s gift shop, visitors can find a unique and comprehensive selection of contemporary art books and other gifts. Books include monographs, critical texts and visual reference volumes. The store also sells CDs, DVDs, two- and three- dimensional art home decorations, apparel and accessories (newmuseum.org).
The New York Aquarium, located in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, has multiple exhibits and feeding shows for families to enjoy. There are two gift shops on the grounds, located at either end of the aquarium. Gifts that can be purchased include stuffed animal replicas, clothing, children’s books, jewelry, key chains and postcards (nyaquarium.com).
The New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens, has exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and participatory activities relating to science, technology, engineering and math. The gift shop, located in the museum and online, offers science books, clothing, hats, mugs, calendars, posters, toys and games (http://nysci.org/).
The New-York Historical Society Museum & Library has a wide selection of gifts, appropriate for all ages. For adults, gifts include apparel, accessories, American history books, stationery, home decor and jewelry. Children’s gifts include books, toys, educational games and themed gifts based on the museum’s Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans exhibit (nyhistory.org).
The New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn is one of the largest museums in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. The museum shop offers books, wooden train toys, apparel, cell phone cases, home accessories, magnets, posters, puzzles and stationery. Visitors can also purchase personalized gifts ranging from key chains to umbrellas (mta.info/mta/museum).
With a newly expanded venue, the Queens Museum continues to grow as a space with contemporary art from around the world. Located in Flushing, the museum’s gift shop offers a special section with goods crafted by local artists from the borough. Additionally, the gift shop sells historic memorabilia, T-shirts and more. (queensmuseum.org)
The Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea is home to a comprehensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. Visitors can purchase fair-trade cashmere shawls, scarves, books, candles, artisan jewelry and handcrafts at the gift shop, or attend a happy hour, live music performance, film screening or other special event (rubinmuseum.org).
On the Upper East Side, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its exhibitions of international modern and contemporary art. The museum’s gift shop sells a variety of books, children’s gifts, jewelry and more. A bunny girl sculpture titled “I Have Seen Happiness,” created by Xiang Jing, is one the shop’s featured gifts for the holiday season. (guggenheim.org).
At the hands-on Staten Island Children’s Museum, families can partake in interactive educational activities where kids can bring home handmade presents for family and friends. The museum’s Walk-In Workshops have a limitless supply of crafts, paints, glitter and glue, which children can use to show off their creative side (sichildrensmuseum.org).
In the Bronx, Wave Hill’s gift shop features items from local artists that want to connect people with nature. Gifts that accomplish that mission include educational toys, handcrafted soaps, seasonal plants, nature-inspired ceramics, glass and jewelry. Another unique gift idea from Wave Hill is honey from the garden’s hives (wavehill.org).