Museum Shop Hopping

By Carolyn Shanley | Photography by Jack Foley

Above: Pottery from Plimoth Plantation

The South Shore is home to numerous museums dedicated to local history, art and the environment. In addition to exploring educational and inspiring exhibits, no visit is complete without a spin through the onsite gift shops. Stocked with artisan crafts, historical replicas, specialty books, jewelry and more, they are great places to pick up meaningful mementos and one-of-a-kind presents. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite museum shops, which are open through the holiday season.

Plimoth Plantation

137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Plimoth Plantation is a living history museum that tells the complex and interwoven story of the English Colony established in Plymouth in the 1600s and the native Wampanoag people. Visitors can learn how the people of the time lived by walking through the English Village and Wampanoag Homesite or visit the Craft Center to watch artisans recreate traditional crafts using 16th-century techniques. The museum’s shop is divided into a main shop, which features a wide range of gifts, a Native Shop with traditional crafts and a children’s shop that offers toys, games and educational items. Shoppers can find everything from locally sourced cranberry foods and homemade fudge to carved wooden walking sticks and wampum jewelry.

Maritime and Irish Mossing Museum

301 Driftway, Scituate
Open Sundays, 1 – 3 p.m. and by appointment.

Housed in the 1739 residence of Captain Benjamin James, the Maritime and Irish Mossing Museum features changing exhibits that tell the history of local shipwrecks, 250 years of shipbuilding along the North River, rescue missions, Irish mossing and life as a local sea captain. The museum shop stocks many local history books on New England lighthouses and coastal shipwrecks, and various chronicles of the local maritime and Irish mossing history. Sun catchers, posters, notecards and framed prints of local scenes are also for sale.

The Alden House

105 Alden St., Duxbury
Open Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 4 p.m. through the month of October
and also by appointment. The grounds are open year-round.

A National Historic Landmark, the Alden House Historic Site aims to preserve, educate and exhibit the history and heritage of Mayflower passengers John Alden and Priscilla Mullins Alden and their role in early American life. There is a tiny gift shop located in a reproduction barn on the grounds of the museum that is open year-round. Much of the merchandise has a Pilgrim/Alden theme, such as decorative prints and Christmas ornaments, but you can also find locally made bayberry candles, soaps and miniature handcrafted dolls for under $30.


Hull Lifesaving Museum

1117 Nantasket Avenue, Hull
Open Saturdays through November, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., and by appointment.

Fill your lungs with crisp sea air while visiting this museum located in the former Point Allerton Lifesaving Station. Opened in 1889 under the leadership of Joshua James, who is generally considered to be the “father” of the United States Coast Guard, the Hull Lifesaving Museum operates year-round education and recreation programs for youth. Exhibits tell the story of the rescue and seafaring adventures of local sailors. The museum shop is located on the first floor and offers several books on shipwrecks and the whaling industry in Massachusetts. Special items include brightly colored glass deck prisms up to $35, and illustrated maps of Boston Harbor shipwrecks.

Adams National Historical Park and Visitor Center

Presidents Place Galleria, 1250 Hancock St., Quincy
Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from April 19 to November 10 and Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. from December 20 to April 18.
Free validated parking is offered in the adjacent Presidents Place Parking Garage accessed via Saville Avenue.

The contributions of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams to the development of the United States are chronicled here in the Adams National Historical Park. The site includes their birthplaces, ancestral home, a library and a visitor center. The bookstore located in the main visitor center has many interesting titles related to the Adams family and American history. There are also reproduction documents, ornaments and clothing. The Adams National Historic Park participates in, which offers extensive merchandise including reproduction artifacts, clothing, historical books, Jamestown glass, scrapbooks and ranger packs.

Blue Hills Trailside Museum

1904 Canton Avenue, Milton
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., up until Thanksgiving,
and Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the winter months.

Operated in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Blue Hills Trailside Museum features a natural history museum and indoor and outdoor animal exhibits, including a very popular river otter with a personal swimming pool. The animals on site are not able to survive in the wild. The museum also runs a summer camp and educational and outdoor programs for all ages. The gift shop offers a wide range of nature-inspired gifts, such as animal puppets, screech owl houses made in the United States, Ranger Vests for kids and a variety of binoculars and toys.

Pilgrim Hall Museum

65 Court St., Plymouth
Open daily, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Built in 1824, Pilgrim Hall Museum tells the story of the Pilgrims, their voyage aboard the Mayflower and their first winter in Plymouth. Many original artifacts are on display, from furniture to household items. The museum gift shop is full of interesting items like Mayflower family genealogy guides and Loara Standish sampler kits in silk or linen. In honor of their current exhibition, Four Centuries of Wedding Fashion, on display through December 30, the shop is also selling bohemian head wreaths, cultured pearl jewelry and wooden hand fans.

Fuller Craft Museum

455 Oak St., Brockton
Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays until 9 p.m.
(The museum is free on Thursdays.)

Dedicated to celebrating and preserving contemporary crafts, the Fuller Craft Museum features fantastic art exhibitions and demonstrations, hands-on workshops, outdoor sculptures and special events. The museum shop is located in the main entry hall and represents many artistic mediums, from metal and clay to glass, fiber and wood. Visitors can peruse handmade jewelry, fine textiles and pottery pieces, craft books and home décor. Unique items include furniture and housewares made from recycled aluminum traffic signs, hanging fish mobiles made from recycled detergent bottles; and handcrafted jewelry.

South Shore Natural Science Center

48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell
Open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.,
and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Located on 30 acres of meadows and woodland just off Route 123 in Norwell, the South Shore Natural Science Center is dedicated to educating the public about the native wildlife and ecosystems of the South Shore as well as the stewardship of natural resources. The center’s Nature Shop includes locally crafted bird and bat houses, animal tracking kits, original framed art by area artists, hung in an adjacent gallery, birding and garden supplies and Bug Me, Not!, a popular insect repellant made in Marshfield.

Comments are closed.