Any museum shop must navigate a perilous strait between the Scylla of inauthentic, mass-produced tourist trinkets and the Charybdis of reproductions so refined and expensive that they seem museum-worthy themselves.

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology has never had to navigate those waters before. For its first eighty years, the small “mummy” museum on State Street, which houses antiquities from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, never had a gift shop. It had a small display case by the front door. Sales, when they occurred, were easily handled by the security guard at the front desk.

That changed as the Kelsey prepared to open its stunning new addition last November, made possible by an $8.5 million donation from the Upjohn family. A small committee mostly made up of unpaid and dedicated docents lobbied hard for a proper shop. “They persevered, stormed the Bastille, and commandeered this space,” says curator and associate director Laurie Talalay about the genesis of the new Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Shop.

There was no budget, since museum shops are supposed to funnel money into the museum, not vice versa. So the committee and Talalay cadged furniture from Treasure Mart and U-M Property Disposition, and display cases from the Museum of Art (which recently underwent its own transformation), and carefully evaluated and sourced its wares. Located in a small room of its own on the first floor, in the old part of the museum, the gift shop is now fully open for business.

Children are big on mummies, so Talalay and her committee felt it was important to carry things they could afford. The shelves are stocked with fun, inexpensive souvenirs that, like the antiquities on display, were actually manufactured in Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Replica coins and tiny figurines sell for around a dollar. There are bins and shelves of inexpensive mirrors, magnets, and stencils with Egyptian motifs, “volcano putty,” coloring books. Grown-ups will like the surprisingly inexpensive prints from the museum’s own extensive collections of Lawrence of Arabia-era photos. The display case also holds beaded necklaces by local artist Troy Gerring; “inspired by” pieces in the Kelsey collection, they’re $200-400. Or, for as little as $20, you can buy a replica of an ancient Egyptian children’s toy made by Barret Roebuck, a local toy maker who also built cases, furniture, and exhibits for the new wing.

The museum shop is a labor of love, staffed entirely by docents (who, when the place isn’t busy, can sometimes be seduced into giving you a guided tour of the museum). Talalay says she hopes to recruit new docents so she can expand the shop’s hours.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Shop, 434 South State St., 764-9304. Tues.-Sun. 1-4 p.m. Closed Mon.