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The Find

Fits in a Suitcase: Small and Compact Souvenirs

by Karen Parr-Moody 28 Dec 2021

Many visitors to Nashville swing by GasLamp to find a unique souvenir to commemorate their stay. We think we know why. Many of our dealers find their antiques at historic homes and estate sales in the area, so they exude a Southern sensibility far more sophisticated and unique than t-shirts and refrigerator magnets.


The larger and more delicate of these finds – say, an 1800s corner cabinet or a Sèvres vase – are carefully shipped by our staff to the visitor’s home. But some shoppers fill their suitcase with souvenirs to easily whisk from one airport to the next. Here are five examples. 


Anderson Design Group was a fledgling ad agency that chanced upon a game-changing idea in 2003. They began designing Nashville-inspired posters inspired by those made by the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Since then, Anderson Design Group has created more than 160 designs depicting what the creative team loves most about Music City in an ongoing poster project called The Spirit of Nashville Collection. Such artworks are stylish reminders of Music City’s many attractions.

This framed postcard from The Spirit of Nashville Collection is an easy-to-pack souvenir – especially given how carefully our staff wraps merchandise ($18; Booth B-330).


Anderson Design Group also produced this postcard featuring two blue macaws against a moss-green background ($25; Booth B-330). The matting’s color matches the macaws’ feathers perfectly, and the custom frame is a striking 11 by 13 inches. The macaw-themed card is one of four vintage-style designs that Anderson Design Group produced, each one featuring a favorite animal species. This piece reminds us that Nashville Zoo works on conservation projects to preserve rain forests in South America and Southeast Asia.


This book is quite the find: It’s a limited-edition, signed book by the late author John Egerton. The well-known Southern journalist chronicled this region’s traditions, history, and food in a series of well-regarded books.

This signed copy of “Nashville: An American Self Portrait” captures the essence of Music City during the year 2000 ($98; Booth T-140). It touches on events including the 75th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry, a farewell crusade by the Reverend Billy Graham and a stunning Super Bowl season for the then-new team, the Nashville-based Tennessee Titans. The book is a collaboration of 100 Nashvillians and others with city ties.


Sure, Nashville has multiple brands of homegrown goat soap. But have you seen its goat sculpture? This handmade example is a nostalgic reminder of Nashville’s agrarian past when farm life played out against the city’s rolling acres ($75; Booth T-366). This charming sculpture, which stands at 10.5 inches, is finished with chipped blue paint and an old shipping label, giving it that rustic aura that is emblematic of farm style. This find is one of a kind, making it even more special.  


This candle is a remembrance of Nashville’s oldest brewery, Nashville Brewing Company, which operated locally from 1859 to 1890 ($14; Booth T-223). A historical marker stands where the brewery once stood in the Gulch district. In 2016, local businessman Scott Mertie revived the Nashville Brewing Co. name to produce Czech pilsners, German lagers, and other award-winning craft beers.

GasLamp can ship massive antiques but taking a souvenir home in a suitcase brings that instant gratification we all love so well. When the souvenir gets home, it becomes a metaphysical archive of fond memories as well as a conversation starter (y’all can tell everyone how awesome Nashville is!).   
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