Gifting with Purpose

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited the museum store that we undergo some fairly significant changes for each exhibition.  While visitors can usually expect to find Korean & Chinese ceramics, Southeast Asian textiles, antiques and oddities, as well as artist-produced goods from Asia and the Bay Area, exhibitions are an opportunity to show off cultural connections.
But this time around, we’re doing things a little differently.

As the entire store consists of floor-to-ceiling windows, giving objects their best angle has always been a challenge.  We’ve embraced the challenge, covering the windows in a custom vinyl wrap.  Take a look in our design books and you’ll find the source is an Indian textile motif.


We’ve paid special attention to the fact that not everyone’s going to want something specifically related to the Maharaja exhibition, and that maybe you’re traveling for the holidays.

Small, handmade, and very touchable: these glass pebble vases from Sugahara Glassworks are meant to resemble river stones, smoothed by water.  The best part?  The hand-blown vases are only $24.

Maybe you’ve seen the Maharaja exhibition and are looking for something a little shinier?

These nickel silver critters from Cambodia are $20, fit in the palm of your hand, and are actually boxes.  I’m a big believer in truly personal gifts, so tuck in a surprise message for your giftee to discover (especially helpful if you can’t afford to place the Maharaja’s jewels inside).

And it wouldn’t be a South Asian exhibition if there weren’t bangles.
Last year, our education department brought in over 21,000 students, teachers, and parents for school programs–for free.  You better believe that kids who only have a couple allowance dollars to spend are going to be able to afford something in the museum store.

Not to sound too much like a Public Service Announcement, but all of this matters a lot.  The best part about shopping at the museum store comes when you realize that you’re not just buying gifts–you’re supporting artists, communities, and the programs and exhibitions of the Asian Art Museum.  A meaningful gift that has a story–what more could you ask for?

Little-known fact: if you’re not a member, you can always access the museum store without paying admission.  Talk to the nice people at the admission desk, tell them you want to visit the museum store, and come say hello.

One Response to “Gifting with Purpose”

  1. Nancy  on November 23rd, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I second all the “gift” recommendations – in fact, I bought my grand-nieces a bunch of those bracelets. My nephew tells me that they swan around the house, striking poses and pretending to be Bollywood heroines. Beautiful items at a very reasonable price.


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