News & Politics

Best of 2005: Top Museum Shops

Washington's museum shops are great places for holiday shopping. Here are four of the best

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (1050 Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4880; You'll find treasures such as a Yemeni bead necklace with silk ribbon, board games from premodern Asia, Tibetan prayer flags, and exotic spices. Cases display gold and garnet bracelets, and earrings decorated with Chinese characters. Lacquer, crystal, and brass sculptures are for sale along with cast-iron teapots and ceramics.

National Building Museum (401 F St., NW; 202-272-2448;; $5 donation). An imaginative mix of odds and ends, some with obvious links to architecture (coasters showing great buildings), some more obscure (Slinky toys). Kitchen-related items include a nifty pair of magnetized salt and pepper shakers and oversize bamboo bowls. There are earrings and brooches modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright's stained-glass designs, and neckties with maps of Washington, Paris, London, and other cities.

National Gallery of Art (Constitution Ave. between Third and Seventh sts., NW; 202-737-4215; The West Building's shop offers a large selection of silver jewelry–Georgia O'Keeffe's poppies as earrings, Matisse's dancers mounted on a pin. You'll find silk scarves printed with images from paintings, Renaissance-style crystal vases, and replicas of Degas sculptures. Art reproductions adorn journals, notecards, place mats, bookmarks, wrapping paper, holiday cards, and more.

Textile Museum (2320 S St., NW; 202-667-0441;; $5 donation). Think color: Balinese quilts, rattan and brocade purses, tapestries, kimonos, bow ties, beaded jewelry. This small but impressive shop also has a large selection of hand-woven shawls, silk saris, and shibori scarves, made of a labor-intensive tie-dyed fabric from India and Japan.

Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.

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