Buyer Behold

November 25, 2015
Index Magazine

Buyer Behold

The Harvard Art Museums’ shop offers one-of-a-kind gifts for all ages.

With our long list of programs to choose from and with new works of art being installed monthly, the Harvard Art Museums are more dynamic than ever. The same holds true for our gift shop and cafe, which regularly offer up a range of new merchandise and inventive takes on traditional dishes.  

At Jenny’s Cafe, managed by The Catered Affair, visitors can enjoy drinks, snacks, and light bites, either in the Calderwood Courtyard or inside the cafe’s cozy space. The cafe has become known for its unique offerings, in part due to the fact that the menu evolves in response to customers’ tastes. Recent options have included a cinnamon French toast latte, beet and mascarpone cookies, cashew biscotti, and roasted root vegetables with blue cheese and bacon. Daily specials showcase seasonal ingredients; for fall, it’s butternut squash ravioli with sage mascarpone sauce. When possible, all items on the menu are locally sourced, and offerings are sensitive to special diets. Kids can get a nut-free PB&J, and several options are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free.

Across the courtyard, the gift shop’s airy space invites relaxed browsing. Young art lovers and full-grown aficionados alike can purchase jewelry, ceramics, colorful paper goods, creative household items, and more. Handmade mobiles in eye-catching shapes, materials, and colors by Danish producer Flensted, for instance, would be equally at home in a study or a nursery.

Sanja Cvjeticanin, director of visitor services, carefully curates all of the shop merchandise and rotates displays and products regularly. “I want visitors to be able to see something that might surprise them,” Cvjeticanin said.

As each new special exhibition is installed in the galleries, Cvjeticanin chooses related materials for purchase. One display table currently features items connected to Corita Kent and the Language of Pop; Kent’s art appears on souvenir mugs, posters, tea towels, and more. A visitor favorite is a desktop-sized replica of Kent’s famous Boston Gas tank design, which lets buyers admire the local landmark without having to endure highway gridlock.

Though the shop and Jenny’s Cafe are meant to complement the overall experience of visiting the museums, both spaces are accessible (without paying for gallery admission) to those who have time only to swing by to pick up a gift or a quick bite. In the coming weeks, the shop will surely bolster many holiday gift lists. Meanwhile, Jenny’s Cafe will provide the delicious sustenance—and the caffeine—necessary to weather the busy season.

The Harvard Art Museums shop is open daily, 10am to 5pm, and Jenny’s Cafe is open daily, 10am to 4pm.