Art State of Mind

10 Gift Ideas from 10 Museums Around the World

Joanna Kaszubowska 11 January 2024 min Read

If you are struggling with inspiration for great gifts, do not fret! DailyArt Magazine is here to help. Today, we will go around the world looking for the best gift ideas in museum shops on each continent (excluding Antarctica, the only continent with no permanent human habitation). Find the ideas you need with our list of 10 great gift ideas from museums worldwide!

1. Mehrangarh Museum, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

We are going to start in India and travel east. Our first stop is in Jodhpur, where we can visit Mehrangarh, an imposing fortress on the hill with palaces built over 500 years ago. It is a true gem, so visit if you have a chance. Otherwise, you can still buy from their online shop.

museum gifts: Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, andbeyond

Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, andbeyond

This beautiful diary shows a detail from The Gopis Search for Krishna, from Folio 4 of the Krishna Lila (c.1765). The gopis started feeling proud that Krishna favored them, so to curb their hubris, Krishna vanished, and they started to search for him frantically. The gopis even asked animals and trees if they saw Krishna. Eventually, their search and pleas for Krishna’s return were successful and culminated in a joyful dance.

museum gifts: Divine Garden Diary, Mehrangarh Fort Museum Shop

Divine Garden Diary, Mehrangarh Fort Museum Shop

2. National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

Continuing our eastward travel, we visit the National Palance Museum in Taipei. The museum has a vast collection of Chinese artworks, many of which were moved from the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing during the Kuomintang’s retreat to Taiwan. The collection encompasses 8,000 years of the history of China, presented through painting, calligraphy, ceramics, metalwork, as well as books and documents. One of the famous artifacts in the museum is a jadeite cabbage, which also inspired the gift we picked for you.

museum gifts: Jadeite Cabbage Digital Camera from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, museum’s website

Jadeite Cabbage Digital Camera from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, museum’s website

Not only is it a beautiful and handy gift, but you also get the joy of assembling it yourself. The camera components come in a nice box with clear instructions to help you do that.

3. The National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia

From Taiwan, we move to Australia, where the National Museum of Australia focuses on bringing diverse stories of the country to life through its collection of objects linked to key moments in Australia’s history and curated events. Based in Canberra, the museum is on the lands of the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal, and Ngambri peoples.

Their shop reflects the mission of presenting diverse stories with a huge selection of indigenous objects. Look at this beautiful teapot; how joyful can drinking tea become? The design is based on artwork by Justin Butler from North Queensland, Australia. Additionally, the royalties from this product directly benefit the artist.

4. Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

From Australia, we move east and north, visiting British Columbia in Canada. The Museum of Anthropology, in their own words, is “a place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia.”

museum gifts: Ten Woven Blanket by Debra Sparrow and Robyn Sparrow, Museum of Anthropology at UBC

Ten Woven Blanket by Debra Sparrow and Robyn Sparrow, Museum of Anthropology at UBC

This cotton blanket is a licensed reproduction of a large-scale weaving, Ten, from 1999, by Musqueam artists and sisters Debra and Robyn Sparrow. In Salish, “Ten” means Mother, and this design is dedicated to the mother of the artists, honoring her strength and wisdom. The striking range of geometric repeats woven in “Ten” symbolizes the designers’ many life events and accomplishments.

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, USA

We will stay for another second in North America, moving to the east and south. In the United States, especially in New York, one can be spoilt for choice regarding museum shops, so we will go with one of the classics. The Met’s mission is simple yet profound: to “present over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy.” And while it is no match to the National Palance Museum in Taipei in terms of time range, it certainly can compete with the quality of the collection.

museum gifts: Louis C. Tiffany Peacock Feather Paperweight, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Louis C. Tiffany Peacock Feather Paperweight, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The peacock feather reproduced on this paperweight is based on a swirling feather design from an original Favrile vase by American decorative artist Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933) in the Museum’s collection. It will make any paperwork instantly more appealing!

6. Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We will continue south and a bit to the east to head to Argentina. In MALBA’s own words, “The mission of MALBA is to collect, conserve, study, and create awareness of Latin American art from the early 20th Century to the present.” A mission that gives the institution focus and the visitors clarity. The museum opened only in 2001, and the core of its collection is constituted by the collection of Eduardo F. Costantini, the museum’s founder and chairman.

museum gifts: Mate thermal mug, MALBA

Mate thermal mug, MALBA

Given MALBA’s focus, we could not pick any other gift. Mate is the drink to have in many countries in South America, and each of them prepares it slightly differently. It has an extreme cultural significance and is considered a national beverage in Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay, with an iced variation being extremely popular in Brazil.

7. Museu de Arte de São Paulo, MASP, São Paulo, Brazil

Mate very timely brings us to Brazil to visit MASP. One of the most characteristic features of this museum is its building. Designed in 1968 by Lina Bo Bardi, it still symbolizes Brazil’s modern architecture. While the museum has a significant collection of European art, it also works on bringing to the fore the works of artists from Latin America, including indigenous creators.

museum gifts: Lina Bo Bardi, MASP building, São Paulo, Brazil, phot. Naldo Arruda, Wikimedia, CC 2.0

Lina Bo Bardi, MASP building, São Paulo, Brazil, phot. Naldo Arruda, Wikimedia, CC 2.0

This cachaça cup has been made by Serra da Capivara ceramics company. It was created by an archeologist, Niéde Guidon, to provide sources of income for the local communities in Serra da Capivara National Park. The enterprise has become one of the most successful cases in revitalizing Brazilian handicrafts, providing jobs for dozens of artisans, all from the area surrounding the park. The region’s cave paintings are reproduced in the company’s products. You cannot get a more Brazilian gift than a cachaça cup from Serra da Capivara with the local cave painting!

museum gifts: Cachaça cup, MASP

Cachaça cup, MASP

8. Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

Continuing our journey east, we eventually end up in Europe. In London, as in New York, one is spoiled for choice of museums, but one of the best places when it comes to museum shops is the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

This William Morris-inspired bag will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. The design is adapted from a wallpaper designed by Morris. In line with the artisan philosophy of the Arts & Crafts movement, the bag has been hand-made in a family-run workshop in London.

museum gifts: William Morris Compton leather cross-body bag, V&A

William Morris Compton leather cross-body bag, V&A

9. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rijksmuseum vision is simple and yet ambitious: “The Rijksmuseum links individuals with art and history.” They do it through the display of the museum’s permanent collection and several exhibitions every year. The museum does an excellent job of promoting art; the sold-out exhibition of works by Johannes Vermeer was proof of that.

No gifts list is complete without socks, so here we go. Beautiful pair inspired by the still life of Jan Davidsz de Heem. It will bring color to everyone’s day.

museum gifts: Jan Davidsz de Heem socks, Rijksmuseum

Jan Davidsz de Heem socks, Rijksmuseum

10. Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa

Zeitz MOCAA is “committed to making a significant contribution to the development of contemporary art in Africa and its diaspora.” It is based in a striking building in the Silo District at the Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town. The structure is a conversion of the historic Grain Silo that comprised 42 concrete cylinders, originally built between 1921 – 1924 by indentured laborers.

museum gifts: Heatherwick Studio, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa, Mail&Guardian

Heatherwick Studio, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa, Mail&Guardian

Typically, I would include a foldable shopping bag in the list, but those baskets stole my heart with their mix of the old and new.

museum gifts: Basket, Zeitz MOCAA

Basket, Zeitz MOCAA

Bonus: DailyArt Shop

We could not miss this opportunity to share our goodies with you. Just in case you need some more inspiration! You can find a selection of stationery, accessories, and prints there. But also ready-made beautiful gift boxes!

museum gifts: Art Lover’s Gift Box, Daily Art

Art Lover’s Gift Box, Daily Art

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