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The Art Of Giving


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Forget the fondue pot. You need one-of-a-kind gifts for your one-of-a-kind friends.
Where to find them? At the East Bay’s one-of-a-kind museum shops.
Plus, you can make a fun day of it: Tour the museum while you’re there.

Happy shopping.

Glass Bracelet
Oakland Museum of California
Understated but distinctive. That sums up the jewelry and other glass works created by artist Sarah Hirneisen in her west Oakland studio. To make her one-of-a-kind bracelets, Hirneisen fuses vintage fabric patterns onto the surface of one-by-one-inch glass tiles, which she then links with silver. $110, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, (510) 238-2200

Kimono Purse
Berkeley Art Museum
This fan-shaped purse, made from vintage kimonos, would accent any gal’s little black dress. The museum’s gift shop features these stylish gems in conjunction with its show Taisho Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia, and Deco, a celebration of artwork produced in early 20th-century Japan. $50, Berkeley Art Museum, entrances at 2626 Bancroft Way and 2621 Durant Ave., Berkeley, (510) 642-0808

Floating globe
Lawrence Hall of Science
Don’t ask us to explain how this globe levitates above its silver base. We just love how the clearly defined political boundaries make it easy for geography buffs to spot breakaway republics. $39.95, Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial Drive, Berkeley, (510) 642-5132

Model Duesenberg
Blackhawk Museum
You might want to throw in a Clark Gable or Carole Lombard doll to go along with this, the ultimate gift for your favorite model-car enthusiast: an 11-inch replica of a 1934 Duesenberg. Back in the 1930s, Duesenbergs were the “It” cars of high society and Hollywood royalty, prized for their powerful engines and stylish, built-to-order art deco bodies. $39.95, Blackhawk Auto Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Circle Plaza, Danville, (925) 736-2280

Silk Scarf
Creative Growth Art Center
This scarf, based on a design by George Wilson of Oakland, makes any ensemble unique. Wilson is one of 130 artists enrolled at Creative Growth, the largest nonprofit visual arts center in the nation for adults with developmental, physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. $45, Creative Growth Art Center, 355 24th St., Oakland, (510) 836-2349

Salamander and Dragonfly Umbrella
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
Your favorite wild thing will love adding a splash of color to those gray, rainy days. This umbrella features a kaleidoscope of hues inspired by salamanders and dragonflies. $21.95, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-1978

Menorah
The Judah L. Magnes Museum
This glass-and-wood menorah was crafted by Elliot Landes, an Oakland-born designer and woodworker. Landes makes writing instruments, desk accessories, and Jewish ceremonial objects in his studio in an old apricot-packing warehouse in the small town of Winters. His work is often for sale at the museum, which explores Jewish life and culture. $150, Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2911 Russell St., Berkeley, (510) 549-6950

Burmese Puppet
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
More than a pretty object to decorate an empty wall, this 36-inch bejeweled marionette represents an artistic tradition that dates back to the 1400s, when puppet theater became a popular way for the Burmese people to retell legends and fables. $198, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, 103 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley, (510) 642-3682

Check out these other East Bay museum shops

Chabot Space and Science Center Toy space shuttles, “astronaut food” (including freeze-dried ice cream), and a prehistoric critter-growing kit. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, (510) 336-7302, www.chabotspace.org

Habitot Children’s Museum Fun, educational toys for young children. 2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley, (510) 647-1111, www.habitot.org

John Muir National Historic Site “Everything John Muir,” including nature books, trail books, children’s books, and postcards. 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez, (925) 228-8860, www.nps.gov/jomu

Oakland Zoo Cuddly stuffed elephants, tigers, and snakes, plus hand puppets and beautifully carved wooden elephants and giraffes. 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, (510) 632-9525, www.oaklandzoo.org

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