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Great Gifts from Museum Gift Shops

Shopping Ideas for Holiday Gift Giving


Museum gift shops are ideal places to find unique gifts for your family and friends, especially around the holidays. Following are some of the best gifts I've found from museum gift shops across the USA. These items can be bought online or while you're visiting, making it easy for locals and travelers to take advantage of these fun finds.

Space Monkey and Bear Set

Space Monkey and Bear Set
Why buy your kids a regular Teddy Bear when you can get them these cute NASA-inspired space monkey and bear? These adorable stuffed animals are available at SmithsonianStore.com or at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

"Sue" Dinosaur Ornament

Sue the Dinosaur Ornament
The Field Museum
Does your family or office engage in an ornament exchange each year? An ornament of "Sue," The Field Museum's best known dinosaur is a fun way to share a little science during the season. Get Sue at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

45 RPM Spacer Sterling Silver Cufflinks

45 RPM Spacer Cufflinks
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland come these cool cufflinks for the music lover in your life. Get them for a old timer who actually remembers the time when one needed to use record spacers on a turntable or for a modern-day DJ who needs to spruce up his formal look.

Chica Rosa Clutch

This silver and aluminum hand-crocheted clutch was created by San Francisco company Escama Studio and is sold at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, also known as SFMOMA.

Elvis Hot Sauce Gift Set

Elvis Hot Sauce
The perfect topper for some Memphis barbecue, this hot sauce set emblazoned with the image of The King is a cheeky gift idea for an Elvis fan or a lover of spicy food. Habanero, Cayenne, and Garlic-flavored sauces come in the three-pack. Indeed, the marketers at Graceland Mansion, Elvis's erstwhile estate, left no stone unturned when it came to branding merchandise with the Elvis name. I was also fond of this stocking designed to look like Elvis' white jumpsuit.

Guggenheim Espresso Set

Guggenheim espresso set
Guggenheim Museum
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum is one of the most iconic buildings in New York City. This espresso set echoes the building's curvature and is a chic little set for coffee lovers with an affinity for modern art.

Footed Bowl

Met Museum Footed Bowl
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Modeled after an object from the Metropolitan Museum's famous Egyptian collection, this footed bowl is whimsical and affordable.

J'aime et J'espere Ring

J'aime et J'espere ring
From Monticello, the former estate of Thomas Jefferson and one of the USA's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, comes this sterling silver ring that is said to be a reproduction of one that the British Ambassador to France gave to Martha Jefferson. For non-French speakers, the phrase means, "I love and I hope."

If your Christmas gift budget has no limit, this Monticello dollhouse is incredible. Further, this Silver Turtle Music Box makes a lovely heirloom gift for a child.

Surreal Wall Clock

Surreal Wall Clock from the Dali Museum
The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of the USA's newest art palaces. It's dedicated, of course, to the Surrealist artist Salvador Dali, whose 1954 painting "The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory" inspired the design of this clock.

La Sardina Marathon Camera

La Sardina Marathon Camera
J. Paul Getty Museum
Photographers, especially those that like to take photos the old-fashioned way (with film), will dig the Sardina camera from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The vintage-style, fish-eye camera made to look as if it's encased in a sardine can (Get it?) has a wide-angle lens and lots of other analog features. Order the camera from the Getty Museum and it comes with a poster and "inspiration book."
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