December 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Museum Shopping for the Holidays

"Shop locally and globally at Santa Fe’s museum shops..."

By Tom Maguire

Culture Vulture

Tom Maguire is a musician, arts supporter and a guy who travels the Southwest in a 13’ Scamp trailer, because he couldn’t figure out how the tent poles went together.

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Though museum shops originally opened merely to support the curatorial and education sides of these cherished institutions, they have now become bona fide merchants in our larger commercial landscape. Many have both a “bricks and mortar” location in the museum but also an online store. The various museum shops in Santa Fe have become excellent sources of quality gifts you can buy for yourself or for others in this holiday season.

The museums in the Museum of New Mexico system here in Santa Fe – New Mexico Museum of Art, Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – all have Museum Foundation Shops that feature the works of New Mexico Creates® artists and artisans.

As a program of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Shops, the stated mission of New Mexico Creates®  is “to promote and strengthen New Mexican creative entrepreneurs, to offer visitors and New Mexico citizens the best of New Mexico, created in New Mexico and to support the divisions of the Museum of New Mexico.” Simply stated this program provides high quality handmade items from some of New Mexico’s finest artists and artisans.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has its own shop, as do the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of International Folk Art and The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. The Wheelwright’s Case Trading Post operation even reflects the atmosphere of an early 20th-century trading post from the Navajo Reservation, with artists still coming directly to the Wheelwright to sell their wares.

In any of these shops, or through their online platforms, you can find quality gifts for this or any season—books about artists from New Mexico, handmade items, prints, posters or, in the case of the Folk Art gift shop, handmade folk art objects from around the world.

In fact, at one time you could find original woodcuts from famed artist Gustave Baumann (1881-1971) tucked away in a drawer in the Museum of New Mexico shop (then, the Fine Arts Museum). The current shop still sells both original woodcut prints by Willard Scott (1910-1992) and the wonderful and wonderfully-priced re-strikes by his  grandson, Kevin Ryan, who once was the senior Scott’s apprentice.

Each museum shop is unique—the O’Keeffe shop certainly has O’Keeffeiana (I just made that up) of all types, but also many beautiful items that merely express an O’Keeffe-influenced aesthetic. The Spanish Colonial, Wheelwright and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture all provide an excellent opportunity to purchase the kind of quality work you may have passed up during Spanish or Indian Markets in the summertime.

Whatever your passion in arts, crafts, books or history; give our Santa Fe museum shops the opportunity to cater to that passion.

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