Museum mix ‘n’ match

GPO Carrington telephone, 55GBP, Imperial War Museum.PA Photo/Handout.GPO Carrington telephone, 55GBP, Imperial War Museum.PA Photo/Handout.
GPO Carrington telephone, 55GBP, Imperial War Museum.PA Photo/Handout.
They bring history, science and art to life. A peaceful amble around a museum can transport you to a faraway - sometimes even fantastical - world.

These days, however, you’re even able to take a piece of the magic home with you. Our museum shops boast a brilliant range of products inspired by exhibitions and collections from around the world, which could bring a touch of culture and unique style into your home.

Designers are constantly finding fresh ideas from the treasure trove of objet d’art, furniture, paintings, wildlife, contemporary design and scientific advances that inspire us to visit these exhibitions. And what could be nicer than taking home a little reminder of something beautiful you’ve seen or marvelled at?

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Taking it one step further, though, with leading heritage retailers like the Natural History Museum expanding their online shops, you don’t even need to actually step foot in the museum to find that special something.

“We are thrilled to bring this new, expansive offer to market via our web platform. As always, our retailing is inspired by our collections and exhibitions,” says Ola Ignatowicz, E-commerce manager at the Natural History Museum. “Our collection may include and help celebrate the past, but our shopping experience is very much of the 21st century!”

Vintage fans and history buffs will find an array of delights at the Imperial War Museum shop.

“The new Imperial War Museum London shop and especially our First World War ranges will be an extension of the First World War Galleries and new Atrium displays, taking inspiration from the personal stories of those who fought in conflict since 1914,” says Laura Mullins, the museum’s buying manager.

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“We have worked with a wonderful range of artists and designers to produce some truly groundbreaking products to mark the centenary, and we hope these items will encourage our visitors to ask questions and learn more about the First World War.”

The shops have seen a huge surge in popularity. And as well as sourcing items that complement collections, at The National Gallery, they also have the challenge of taking inspiration from old master paintings to create contemporary retail ranges.

“We aim for products to be fresh and relevant. A recent example being a range inspired by Bonnington’s La Ferte, which encapsulates the nautical trend that is one of the key features of spring/summer 14,” says Colin Chester, head buyer at The National Gallery Company.

It doesn’t stop there. If you’d like something made-to-order or customised, Annabel Dodds, a buyer for the V&A shop, cites the Alphabet Lino Prints by James Brown as one of their bestselling products, along with their Bespoke Letterpress Wedding Prints.