Bookshops in Museums
By Holly Presswell, Tamara Wilson, Shuangyue Zhao and Christiana Jasuta
The Museum Bookshop
This is the go-to bookstore for all museum lovers. The website can be found online here and contains an exquisite collection of books. These books specialise in exhibitions found in museums across the globe, from the past, present and future. The books are carefully hand picked by the staff from independent art and museum publishers to make sure that only the best and most relevant books are featured for each exhibition. If you are looking for the perfect place to find some extra information for your essays or want to find the next exhibition to visit, this is the bookstore for you!
Currently some of the books featured in the store this month are:
- 17th Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book One – found at the Victoria and Albert Museum
- The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England – found at the Metropolitan Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum bookshop provides books for a wide readership including general readers, students, specialists and fashion fans. As an art trendsetter, it specialises in all genres of art books, such as painting, photography and prints, design and fashion, textiles and jewellery, furniture and interiors, ceramics, glass, metalwork and sculpture, theatre and performance and pattern and craft. Unique selections of society and history books, kids books and LGBTQIA+ books are offered as well.
Moreover, the latest beautifully illustrated books featuring the best research, collections and exhibitions from the V&A publishing team are available in the bookshop. For example, hardback official exhibition books for Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature and Africa Fashion are on sale both online and in store. On the V&A shop website, you are able to search your favourite books by either category or author.
The British Museum
It’s time to take a trip to Bloomsbury and visit the beautiful and fascinating British Museum. Within the walls of the museum you can learn about cultures from across the globe, from the dawn of human history to the present. Don’t forget to visit the British Museum shop as they offer an enthralling range of titles and exhibition catalogues. There is a great selection of fiction and non-fiction books that will appeal to both adults and children; from books about history and mythology to puzzle books and art.
Winterbourne House & Gardens – Secondhand Bookshop
Tucked at the heart of Birmingham is a small botanical garden and heritage site. While not a museum per se, Winterbourne House & Gardens was built in 1904 for John Sutton Nettlefold’s family home. Inside this antique house we can see the lives of the Nettlefold family, as well as special temporary exhibitions that change from time to time.
Apart from the gorgeous garden, there is a secondhand bookshop in this site. The secondhand bookshop contains books of different genres, from cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, classics, poetry, to TV and sports books. These books are available for as little as £1.50 for a paperback and £2.50 for a hardback. This is definitely not dangerous at all for any bookworms out there...
If you’re visiting Birmingham, do have a look at this tiny gem. Stroll around the garden, discover the stories in the house, and most importantly – don’t forget to rehome a few (or many!) secondhand books before you leave.
If you’re looking for something that is a bit more unique and where you are sure to learn something fascinating about the human body, then you should visit Wellcome Collection. It is a free museum and library exploring the connections between science, medicine, life and art. Its goal is to challenge how we all think and feel about health. You can check their website here to see what exhibitions are currently on or will be available to go to soon. Their library is also free to visit and holds a vast collection of historical and contemporary books, artworks, archives and manuscripts exploring personal and cultural relationships with health and medicine. There is even a comfortable reading room, with sofas and beanbags to read and relax – suitable for all ages and interests. For more information, please check out their website by clicking here.
If you love art, you may be interested in Tate Modern. Tate Modern hosts over a hundred years of art, from modernism in the early 1900s to new and stimulating contemporary works from all around the world. Entry to the gallery is free, however booking a ticket is recommended for certain exhibitions. You can also discover a huge range of artists' books, prints and magazines in the terrace shop that is located on level one of the Blavatnik building. Here, there will certainly be the perfect book (or several!) to take home for any fellow art lover. The current book of the month in the shop is “The Other Side: A Journey into Women, Art and the Spirit World” by Jennifer Higgie. Higgie takes the reader on both a personal and artistic voyage across time and the globe.