Davies + Starr
| Credit: Davies + Starr

1. New Museum, New York City

Just off the minimalist, cement-floored lobby of this avant-garde institution is an innovative store (235 Bowery; 212/219-1222; Artist-created housewares and limited editions are the specialty.

Top Buy

A John Waters–created set of three signed-and-numbered porcelain plates ($700).

2. Newseum, Washington, D.C.

The 250,000-square-foot shrine to journalism houses a carefully cultivated collection of media-themed historic objects and ephemera (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 888/639-7386; Mirroring the mood of the museum, the sleek bi-level birch-paneled gift shop routinely surprises with inventive and largely affordable media-related collectibles.

Top Buy

Initial cuff links made from antique typewriter keys ($130 per pair).

3. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

The ICA’s waterfront location only adds to the streamlined beauty of the city’s most talked-about contemporary arts destination (100 Northern Ave.; 617/ 478-3104; The building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, cantilevers above a mammoth tiered wooden deck. Just inside, you’ll find the ICA’s celebrated shop.

Top Buy

A matte-white resin bookend cast in the shape of a 1970’s rollerskate, by Harry Allen for Areaware ($100).