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Forget Black Friday, Museum Store Sunday is Here

Remember the joys of the gift shop?

modern desk accessories Photo: Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museum San Francisco

Let’s leave the Doorbuster deals to the amateurs. If, like most of America, you were lured in by outrageous sales at impossible-to-believe prices, you may have learned that the utter chaos of a retail environment isn’t worth it. Pushy, aggressive people and parking lot mayhem isn’t our thing either—which is why Museum Store Sunday feels like the civilized alternative.

The all-day event, happening across the country this Sunday, November 25, picks up on that very appealing Small Business Saturday spirit, encouraging people to think differently when on the gift-getting hunt, hence the event’s elegant call to “Be a Patron.”

silver ice bucket

A subtle nautical design  Photo: Courtesy of Preservation Society of Newport County

Sure, the big box scene has its endless charms, but Museum Store Sunday is a very direct way to reacquaint yourself with the well-curated (appropriately used in this context) wonders of the museum gift shop. Yes, there are calendars and mugs, but as we noted last year, there are some very cool pieces to be had.

Brett Kern dinosaurs

Artist Brett Kern’s dinosaurs  Photo: Courtesy of Carnegie Museum

Roughly 1,000 Museum Stores in all 50 states—not to mention 13 countries and four continents—are going for the win, meaning all the independently operated museum stores and non-profit retailers located at museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, historic sites, and other unique major institutions have become a broad gift-giving landscape of culture and indulgences.

Skultuna candlestick

A minimal Skultuna brass candlestick  Photo: Courtesy of MOCA Store

If it’s a one-off edition or a little quirk for your stocking stuffer, this is a good chance to find both, and hang out in a place that isn’t pipping in pop covers of Christmas classics.

minimal luggage tag

Building Block x MOCA luggage tag  Photo: Courtesy of MOCA Store

There are historically inclined pieces for the home, like a set of old fashioned glasses from the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust at the Chicago Museum or chic brass candlesticks from the super popular Swedish brand Skultuna, available at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. For the savvy host, here’s a cool ice bucket with nautical handles at the Preservation Society of Newport County, and for your artist friends, Brett Kern’s dinosaur figurines at the Carnegie Museum should do the trick.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that you’ll find something extremely personal and well-considered during Cyber Monday.

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