Museum gift shops are not only a great source for uniquely personal one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list. They are also a wonderful way to support the arts and keep our museums running all year long. Here are our top picks for museum buys that are guaranteed to make someone on your holiday shopping list smile this season.
Chrysler Building Bottle Stopper
Sold at: Tenement Museum, $24.99
We all know someone who likes a quality bottle of wine. If that someone is a New Yorker, the Tenement Museum has you covered! This Chrysler Building bottle stopper pairs style and function for the perfect personalized gift. There’s an Empire State Building stopper, too!
Faceted Wood Monoliths
Sold at: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, prices vary
These decorative pieces make for the perfect coffee table element (pair them with selections from our coffee table book gift guide!). Reminiscent of the modern sculptures on display at Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, you’ll feel like you have a piece of the Smithsonian in your living room!
Skull Cuff Links
Sold at: Metropolitan Museum of Art, $198 (members: $178.20)
This item, new to the Met store, will catch the eye of any rebel with a cause. The men’s cuff links, inspired by a 17th-century silver skull watch by Isaac Penard, part of The Met collection, have a Rhodium overlay and Swarovski Elements.
Laura Owens Catalogue
Sold by: Whitney Museum of American Art, $45 (members: $36)
In conjunction with the survey of the artist’s work that is currently on exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, this book gives the ultimate intimate look into the artist’s life. Along with critical essays and literary texts, it includes reflections by people in Owens’ personal and professional life (artists, assistants, family members, friends and more), and items from Owens’s personal archives, such as journals and handwritten notes. Each cover is unique and hand-screen printed in Laura Owens’ studio.
DNA Personalized Scarf Kit
Sold by: Cooper Hewitt, $229
This kit will require that the gift recipient send in a DNA saliva sample, which is then analyzed to extract specific DNA data that is unique to them. This data is converted into a colorful design, which is custom-knitted into their own personalized scarf. Talk about a one-of-a-kind gift!
Hello Coat Rack
Sold by: MoMA Design Store, $60 (members: $54)
Add a pop of color to your entranceway, or any other room that needs a new accent. Inspired by Tracey Emin’s handwritten neon signs, this bright-yellow steel coat rack sign will greet you and your visitors with style.
African American History and Culture Museum Bronze Corona Cuff
Sold by: National Museum of African American History and Culture, $80
This cuff bracelet mimics the ornamental bronze lattice that wraps the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s corona-shaped exterior. This mirrors the tradition of the Yoruba of West Africa, where the column was usually crafted resembling a crown, or corona. According to the Museum, “the corona’s motifs celebrate intricate ironwork designs created by enslaved African American craftspeople in Charleston and New Orleans.”
Titus Davis Pot
Sold by: National Museum of the American Indian, $150
This authentic one-of-a-kind pot is made entirely by hand from locally gathered clay by potter Titus Davis, of New Mexico’s Acoma Pueblo. The hand-painted vessel showcases the complex geometric lines and white curves for which he is most known.
Red Ark Handbag
Sold by: MoMA Design Store, $298 (members: $268.20)
This red acrylic version of the Museum’s contemporary Ark Handbag is made entirely of bamboo. This popular lightweight handbag is a reproduction of a traditional Japanese lunch bag, which features a single compartment interior.
Hattern Mellow Collection Vase
Sold by: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, $179 (members: $161)
This Seoul design studio’s Mellow Collection is a series of stem vases that glow with color and light. With a transparent acrylic base and a duo of brightly-colored gradients, this minimalist accessory comes in a variation of colors. Color combinations include: pink+purple, yellow+blue, green+pink, and green+blue.
top photo // Hattern Mellow Collection vases