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Something Like the Real Thing

3 minute read

Most museum shops are a letdown, filled with cheap imitations and tacky souvenirs. Fortunately there are some that offer faithful replicas — of everything from cutting-edge architecture to millennium sold jewelry — as well as items that reflect the spirit of their collections. And it’s all available online. You can’t have the originals, but here’s where to get the next best thing.

British Museum
The shop at the world’s oldest national museum has replica sculptures to match every décor. The winged head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep ($1,018) suits serene surroundings, and a head of Apollo, god of music, would look good on any piano ($4,024). Eggheads will enjoy playing with a replica Lewis chess set ($200), one of which featured in the first Harry Potter movie. www.britishmuseum.co.uk

Museum of Modern Art
Over the last decade of interior design, Modernism has been rescued from the garage, dusted down and brought back into the living room. Go for the real thing with a leather-and-steel LC-1 chair designed in 1928 by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand ($1,735). Or there’s the Lily table lamp with its 21st century take on Modernism: the beauty of nature gets a minimalist makeover ($565). www.momastore.org

Brooklyn Museum
Here are a wealth of items based on indigenous art from the Americas, as well as the art of Japan, China and Ancient Egypt. Prices go from $15 for a silver-effect Peruvian bird pin — modeled on a motif found on a pre-Columbian tunic from Peru’s central coast — to $2,500 for a one-of-a-kind Native American sterling silver and green turquoise necklace featuring a pendant called a naja, the Navajo word for crescent. www.brooklynmuseum.org

Chicago Architecture Foundation
From the birthplace of the skyscraper come wooden miniatures (from $25.95) of the cake-slice Wrigley Building and the Gothic Tribune Tower — both built in the 1920s — as well as the John Hancock Center, above left, a squared-off, tapering tower, which wouldn’t look out of place in Beijing. And architects don’t just do buildings: for desktop tulips there’s an elegant Frank Lloyd Wright vase in jade or nutmeg ($110). www.architecture.org

Réunion Des Musées Nationaux
French museums club together and peddle products from this online shop. The replica jewelry looks startlingly modern, like the Lydian pierced-disk pendant ($58-$330, various sizes and materials) — based on one found in a 6th century B.C. tomb in what is now Turkey. The gilt-bead necklace — the original comes from Iron Age Tréglonou, Brittany — has a definite touch of class ($209). www.museesdefrance.com

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