Why I adore shopping at museum gift shops!

What makes a museum or gallery gift shop such a great shopping experience? 

With the greatest single exhibition of Matisse masterworks ever to be seen in Sydney at the Art Gallery of NSW on 20 November until 13 March 2022. The gallery is a stockist of ours and they just had to stock our Matisse inspired designs in the exhibition gift shop. And it got us thinking about just why we love museum shopping so much.  We sat down with our founder Jennifer Jones to unpack her obsession 

What’s so special about a museum gift shop? 

There is something so magical about the exit through the gift shop experience! I find galleries and museums put me in a lovely trance. You’ve slowed down, soaked in something that awakens your senses and put yourself in a place that’s so removed from the normal hustle and bustle of life. Gift shops evoke a real nostalgia in me – probably all those National Trust stately homes my parents made me go to growing up in the UK where I would then be rewarded with some treat at the end – a flower press kit or bag of traditional fudge. 

It’s a great shopping experience as you want to take something home to carry on the sensations you’ve just experienced and it’s also a different spin on tourist memorabilia. I also find the curation of the products in a museum gift shop so interesting! It’s really a very unique range where you can find some unusual things.

Jennifer Jones in the Art Gallery of New South Wales
JJ arriving at the AGNSW in March 2020 to begin discussing the Matisse: Life & Spirit with the team.

Where are some of your favourite gallery gift shops?

The V&A Museum shop in London is a great one! I bought a lot of children’s books there as I was pregnant the last time I visited, and felt so inspired. My favourite one is Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day about a little girl who visits the V&A! We still read it today. I also love the shop at the Tate Gallery for great artwork and posters.

Online, I browse through the Moma shop, the MCA gallery in Sydney and the https://mocastore.org/. And of course the AGNSW gallery shop!

What has been the relationship between Jones & Co and museum and gallery gift shops?

Ever since the beginning of the brand we’ve been stocked in some of Australia’s best museum and gallery gift stores. I think there’s something artisan and special about our products that suit these types of retail shops. And as we change our range so frequently there’s always something specific that suits exhibitions running at that time. 

You can find us in these great shops:

Art Gallery of NSW

National Gallery of Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

National Museum of Australia

Buy tickets to Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris and don’t forget to visit the AGNSW gallery shop to snap up some Jones & Co ceramics.