Art museum closing design-centered gift shop

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will close its design-centered gift shop next year to make way for a display about the Miller house in Columbus, Ind.

The IMA's design shop opened in October 2008 to complement a growing permanent collection in advance of the March 2009 opening of a European design exhibition. The shop offered a full array of iconic objects, from an $18 fly swatter designed by Phillippe Starck to a mid-century Charles Eames chair for $679.

Spokeswoman Katie Zarich said the museum will start discounting items in the design center on Jan. 4 as it prepares to merge the inventory with the regular gift shop.

The museum will convert the 1,600-square-foot space to accommodate information about the Miller house, designed in 1957 by architect Eero Saarinen for businessman J. Irwin Miller. The first public tours begin May 10.

Miller, who died in 2004 at age 95, built the former Cummins Engine Co. into a Fortune 500 company. He also established Cummins Foundation, which paid architects to design public buildings and transform the town of Columbus into a showcase for modern architecture. His wife, Xenia, lived there until her death in 2008.

Miller's children donated the house, which was their parents' main residence, to the IMA that year.

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