Broad array of holiday gifts available at Yale museum gift shops

If you're searching for something for that hard-to-buy-for person on your holiday gift list, you will find items designed to whet a variety of tastes and interests at Yale's campus shops. Each shop carries higher-priced, one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as moderate- and low-priced articles. Each also offers a broad selection of volumes on various themes, as well as children's books and other items designed to fire young imaginations. Consumers searching for unique gifts are urged to shop early. All the museum shops will close for the Christmas holiday on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

The following is a brief look at what's now on sale in Yale's campus shops:

Yale Center for British Art

1080 Chapel St. (shop entrance on High Street); 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday; Yale Art Museums members receive a 10 percent discount

Familiar faces, both historic and fictional, greet visitors to the Yale Center for British Art gift shop.

There one can find Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Alice and her Wonderland associates, Winnie the Pooh and friends, and the claymation stars Wallace and Grommit in various shapes and forms, from figurines to chess set pieces.

New this year are famous vehicles from popular British movies. These include James Bond's Aston Martin and the space shuttle from 007's “Moonraker” adventure, as well as the Beatles' Yellow Submarine and the bus from “Magical Mystery Tour.”

Also new this year are specially commissioned pieces of jewelry based on the artworks in the British Art Center's collections. One brooch, for instance, is from “The Allegory of the Tudor Succession,” which depicts Henry VIII and his descendants.

Other special items on sale include needlepoint kits of Bloomsbury artworks manufactured in artist Vanessa Bell's hometown; limestone images of Irish river deities; complicated wooden mechanical toys for purchase as either finished pieces or kits; embroidered wool scarves; and pottery of every imaginable style.

During the past year, the museum shop has been the public entrance to the British Art Center, which has been closed for exhibitions this year due to renovations. The gift shop, too, will close its doors for renovations Dec. 24-Jan. 4. The entire center will celebrate the end of the “Year of the Roof” with a grand reopening on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Yale University Art Gallery

1111 Chapel St.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday; Yale Art Museums members get 25 percent off any purchase over $50 through Dec. 23

As befits a world-renowned museum, art is at the heart of every item offered at the Yale University Art Gallery gift shop. There is art to be admired, art to be used and art yet to be made.

The gallery's museum shop recently expanded, and now occupies two full rooms. Among the artists whose works can be found on a variety of items is Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the subject of a fall exhibit at the gallery. The shop also carries Calder mobiles, reproductions of Greek and Roman frescoes, and giant puzzles composed of interlocking lizards by M.C. Escher.

Also on sale are new works by artists and craftspeople from around the world. Oaxcan angels grace one shop shelf, while overhead hang humanoid pottery figures sporting wings and other fantastical variations. Examples of the useful objets d'art on sale include desk accessories done in high-tech style, a fold-out fabric wastebasket and glass “wobble” vases.

Among the many items designed to bring out the “inner artist” are kits featuring ready-to-decorate body parts that are larger than life. These were chosen to complement the gallery's exhibit “The Unmapped Body.”

Short and spontaneous sales are a common occurrence at the Yale Art Gallery museum shop, so frequent check-ins are recommended. Shoppers can also view and order holiday gift items on a website sponsored by a consortium of 15 museum shops, including Yale's, at the following address: http://www.museumshop.com. Questions about the specific items at the Yale Art Gallery museum shop can be sent via email to art.museumshop@yale.edu.

Peabody Museum of Natural History

170 Whitney Ave.; 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-4:45 p.m. Sunday; Peabody Museum Associates get a 10 percent discount

From the moment you enter the gift shop in Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History, you are surrounded by wildlife: Two huge Chinese Foo dogs guard the entrance to the shop, which recently expanded its space. Also on display are a leather-coated alligator with real teeth; a carved stone bear with a seal clamped in its jaws; wooden trout with twigs for scales; carved leopards sitting demurely on a shelf edge; and an exotic bird with hammered metal wings, among other creatures.

And, of course, there are dinosaurs – from the friendly to the fierce. One special item being offered this year is a Christmas ornament featuring a scene from the Peabody's Pulitzer Prize-winning “Age of Reptiles” mural. The glass orb is reverse-painted from the inside using special curved brushes. Also expected soon are casts made from dinosaurs in the Peabody's collections, including Deinonychus' “terrible claw.”

Unique and authentic items representing cultures around the globe can also be found at the shop. These include elaborate masks from Asia, gourd containers from Africa and musical instruments from Latin America.

Several items celebrate the recent renovation of the museum's Egyptian exhibit – from figurines of Egyptian deities to a book on how to read hieroglyphics. The shop also features many items designed to spark the interest of young scientists, such as telescopes, compasses and garden kits.

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