There are three museums in Asheville that have wonderful gift shops with affordable one-of-a-kind gifts for some super-special people on your list. You can go in just to shop, but you really should put time aside to visit their unique exhibits as well.
aSHEville Museum on 35 Wall Street is a museum dedicated to telling the story of girls and women both locally and globally. Their large gift shop that fronts Wall Street showcases women-made fair-trade items from around the world as well as Asheville themed gifts. They are open seven days a week, and late nights on weekends: 10am-7pm Sunday-Thursday, and 10am-10pm Friday and Saturday. Admission is on a sliding donation scale. Current exhibitions include an installation on Appalachian woman, 100 years of Sexism in Advertising, Her NOBEL words on the 16 women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Conversations with LGBQT families, a photographic exploration of women’s lives throughout the world by photojournalist Ami Vitale, and a special exhibit of the Embody Project, photography aimed at body acceptable and celebration by Erica Mueller. www.ashevillemuseum.com
Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)
Asheville Museum of Science moved to 43 Patton Avenue in November 2016 from their previous home on Biltmore Avenue where it was the Colburn Earth Science Museum. The new location is 8,000 square feet and has expanded beyond gems and minerals, although there is still a large exhibit in the Colburn Hall of Minerals. Hours are Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission rates are currently discounted during the museum’s ‘soft-opening’ period, and range from $5.25-$6. The gift shop has fun plush, science games and kits, lots of rocks and gems and minerals including carved nativity sets and jewelry. It is easy to buy lots of little items under $10 that kids will think are so cool. www.ashevillescience.org
Asheville Art Museum
Asheville Art Museum is also currently in transition, awaiting the renovation of it’s home on 2 South Pack Square. There are Art Banners placed on the construction fencing around the Pack Square location that give information on the museum’s permanent collection and direct visitors to the museum’s Popup location at 175 Biltmore Avenue (the old Foam and Fabric next to Wild Wings). The temporary location is mostly gift shop, with lots of books, housewares, accessories and items for children, and there is also a small (free!, but you can donate a recommended $5 to the cause) exhibit and events going on all around WNC including Yoga in the Gallery and art classes for kids and adults. www.ashevilleart.org