Elizabeth Lavin


The Most Fun Museum Gift Store in Dallas

A retail veteran's reimagining adds a sense of humor to the well-edited Arts District space.

When the Nasher Sculpture Center store reopened in September after a few days’ hiatus, it was practically unrecognizable. The man behind the museum gift shop’s revamp: luxury retail veteran Donald Fowler, formerly the buyer at Nest. “People have been eating it up,” Fowler says.

“These fountain pens from Caran d’Ache are a fun way to fight the fussiness of most fountain pen designs,” Fowler says. “In black, white, and a fluorescent rainbow of colors, they’re a lighthearted gift for the writer in your life.” ($65)

He believes the humor is what’s resonating. “People don’t want to buy a bunch of serious stuff,” he says. The reimagined store offers typical museum inventory of course, such as puzzles, pencils, and Nasher-branded mugs and tote bags, but shoppers can also discover Fowler’s finds from Europe, including banana lamps by Seletti, clairvoyant dice that tell your future, unique watches and wall clocks by German maker Biegert & Funk, and—if you can picture it—a fashionable bike helmet, all of which he believes are in keeping with the shop’s mission to enhance the museum experience for patrons and customers.

The kids’ section has been rethought as well. A well-edited selection of books includes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with artwork by Salvador Dalí and The Little Mermaid illustrated by Yayoi Kusama, while a rack of Fowler-designed onesies read “Don’t Call Me Baby” and “1st Edition.” A handful of small jewelry collections are represented, including an exclusive line created by local designer Elizabeth Wimpress. The pieces feature materials sourced from around the world, such as beetle wings from Indonesia.

“These Warhol-inspired blocks are a sophisticated and fun twist on the traditional children’s toy.” ($20)

“This is just the starting point,” says Fowler. New, readjustable shelving allows displays to be easily changed or removed. “We will be constantly changing,” he says. “By this time next year, I don’t want a stitch of the same thing in here.”