Museum gift shops are some of my favorite places to shop. Last month I attended the Tribute to Motown at the August Wilson Center. During intermission I checked out the gift shop. I was so excited by it that I decided to feature this unique store in my 2009 gift guide. There isn’t enough room to feature everything that I fell in love with but I hope this will wet your shopping appetite and you’ll take a visit to the shop.


I think there is something for everyone, from the price conscious to the big spender and the collector. One of the first things that caught my eye was beautiful African bracelets for $3.99 and necklaces for $5.99. These would make wonderful Christmas or Kwanzaa gifts. Ladies, pick up several of these for stocking stuffers or treat yourself.


If you’re looking for a good, healthy, soul food cookbook you’ll find it in the August Wilson Center Gift Shop. There are many cookbooks to choose from and the ones I found were under $20.

You can find “August to go” in the form of travel mugs and coffee cups. All feature the August Wilson Center logo. However, if you want a mug that will catch the eye of your co-workers, pick up the “Black Proud and Educated” mug for $9.99. The mug is black with the beautiful slogan in gold.

If you’re looking for an African-American-themed calendar you will find it. How about a selection of Bible covers? They’re in there. I was also impressed with the line of Negro League merchandise. Check out the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords T-shirts, ball caps and official shirts. There is even a cute Negro League stuffed bear ready to go home with you.

You know I love Black Santa’s and how hard they are to find. Well, I found a few on this shopping trip. Today we are featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus as Santa gets dressed to go to work. The set is $75.

If you are a collector or a collector in training, please see the hat ladies by Rosebud. Buy one or collect them all. Each miniature hat is recreated from the original designs of Harriet Rosebud. Each hat is made of original materials such as felt, satin, straw or sinamay with adornments in feathers, silk, satin and beading. Each hat with mannequin head (up to six inches high) comes in its own hat box with a storyline hangtag. There are also similar busts of kings and queens of Africa.

If you are part of a sorority or fraternity check out the Greek items. I found Alpha Kappa Alpha note cards, AKA CD holders, Delta Sigma Theta and Zeta Phi Beta journals and the prices were great.

Are you a Thomas Blackshear fan? Please see the soon to be retired President Barack Obama figurine and the African Bride. It might be best for you to visit the store when you have a lot of time to browse. If you go on an intermission like I did you might miss the show.

This wouldn’t be the August Wilson Center for African American Culture without the August Wilson play books. August Wilson “Three Plays” is featured for $29.95. A must have. Please see this page for store hours. The center is located at 980 Liberty Ave., Pgh, Pa. 15222

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