When we are talking about the Benaki Museum, we are actually talking about six different museums (with the seventh one on its way). Each building has its own collection: the main building focuses on Greek ancient art to modern art, the Pireos St. Annexe hosts contemporary art exhibitions, the Museum of Islamic Art is home to the Asian collection, and the N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery features the Hadjikyriakos-Ghika collection. But a visit to the Benaki Museum is never complete without a visit to its gift shop! From those six museums only four have a gift shop, usually focusing in the museum’s identity and building.
The Benaki Museum Shop was created about 35 years ago becoming the first museum shop in Greece. The shops are a vital part of the museum’s life since it funds its cultural work. The products sold there, are well-thought and of excellent design. The reproductions that it sells bear seals of authenticity.
The shop respects traditional crafts and aims to preserve local techniques. For example, the jewelry is made with already lost techniques in mind. The fabrics are traditionally woven. The embroidery is handmade. In addition, the museum also gives space to young designers who are willing to experiment and mix the traditional and the modern. This type of collaboration is one of the most fruitful since it gives the shop a new approach.
We'll tell you more about the two most visited shops in the Benaki museums: the main building shop and the Pireos St. Annexe shop. The other two shops are located in the Museum of Islamic Art and in the Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery.
The main museum building is known for its large collection of finds of the antiquity, the Byzantium, the period of the Greek Revolution of 1821 combing ancient Greek art with Roman and folk art. The shop reflects the museum’s aesthetic and has representative items of the collections. It features reproductions of popular exhibits, items from past temporary exhibitions.
The shop is on both sides of the entrance; on the left there are books, stationary, postcards, accessories. On the right, the jewelry section can be found.
The books, besides the catalogs compliment the permanent collection and allow the visitor to look for more information. Some of the books are published by the museum itself.
Jewelry selection is inspired by the antiquity and the Greek folk art which usually echoes the Byzantium aesthetics.
The Pireos St. Annexe is the museum’s door to contemporary art and the shop reflects the minimal aesthetics. It sells original works by young Greek designers. Up until now, around 500 designers have exhibited their work. The creators are chosen every three months which means that the items also change regulary!
The shop is focused on the field of applied arts and design. It also features a kids section with art books and crafts for kids of all ages. It is a perfect place to find gifts as it has a vast collection of jewelry and accessories like bags and clutches, ornaments and items of everyday use, all with affordable prices.
All shops are accessible without the need to purchase a ticket. They tend to get quite popular during the holidays and many people consider them as a place to go for gifts for all occasions. These shops represent the museum’s goal of preserving the traditional while accepting the modern. While, the main building shop and the Pireos St. Annexe shop are different, both offer high quality products with intriguing design!