Museum Stories

15 Best Unique Gifts from Museum Shops 2023

Martha Teverson 24 November 2023 min Read

Looking for unique gifts to get your loved ones this holiday season? Look no further! Museum shops around the world offer a treasure trove of exceptional gift options for all budgets, ages, and interests. Whether you are looking for practical design items, creative craft supplies, distinctive homeware, or exquisite accessories, this article unveils a specially curated list of unique gifts from online museum shops, sure to delight and inspire.

1. Oscar Wilde Tapestry Needlepoint Kit

National Portrait Gallery, London | £56

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Oscar Wilde once said, “it’s beauty that captures your attention, personality which captures your heart”. This gift has a bit of both!

For those devoted to both literature and crafting, this distinctive tapestry needlepoint kit designed by artist Emily Peacock offers a fun activity to while away chilly winter nights in front of the fire, and a stunning tapestry to hang above it once completed! The National Portrait Gallery in London has a range of vibrant icons to stitch to life, from Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen, to William Shakespeare and David Bowie.

2. Celestial Beaded Slippers

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York | $89 

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Who says you can’t be snug and glam? Add a touch of something special to the perfect winter gift in these slippers sprinkled with stardust. The midnight-blue velvet and beautifully beaded intergalactic design draw inspiration from Schiaparelli’s exquisitely embroidered 1937 stellar evening jacket, featured in the Met’s House of Lesage collection. Buy online!

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Add a splash of color and comfort to your loved one’s home with this stand-out cushion cover. Designed by Aboriginal artists in Australia and masterfully hand-dyed by traditional artisans in Kashmir, this unique gift represents cultural collaboration and expert craftsmanship, ideal for those who like the functional to be funky.

5. ZaoZam Ocean Blue Amala Teapot

Musée des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet, Paris | €85

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Both original and quintessential, this ceramic teapot inspired by Asian arts stands out with its richly toned, layered enamel of copper and indigo. Rustic yet sophisticated, this handcrafted teapot from the Musée des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet in Paris would make a beautiful centerpiece at afternoon tea and a truly unique gift.

6. Artist Playmobil Set 

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam | €29,95

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How cute are those mini easels? For budding young art historians, this quirky Playmobil family, available separately or together as a set, includes Van Gogh, Rembrandt and his most famous characters, and Vermeer’s iconic milkmaid. Reflecting the Rijksmuseum’s impressive collection, this unique gift for kids is both fun and educational.

7. Multicolor Tintsaba Triangle Basket

Zeitz Mocaa Museum, Cape Town |£52

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Zeitz Mocaa, a contemporary art museum in Cape Town, has an online shop showcasing a collection of basketry as stunning and vibrant as its exhibitions. Coming in a range of sizes and patterns, the hand-spun baskets are expertly crafted by the Swazi people as part of a development project in rural areas. Making an exceptionally unique gift, this basket would be a delight for collectors and lovers of creative décor.

8. Celtic Knot Hip Flask

British Museum, London | £50

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Drawing inspiration from Celtic art found in the British Museum’s collection, this exquisite pewter hip flask features a delicately detailed Celtic knot design – the ancient symbol for eternity. Crafted in England, it also comes with two shot-measure cups.  This set makes for a remarkable gift for those who appreciate the beauty of Celtic art…and the occasional tipple.

Like the design? It can be found on a range of items within the museum’s online shop, including this unique pocket watch.

8. WasteBoards Recycled Plastic Skateboard

Museum of Modern Art, New York City | $149.95

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This skateboard has it all with a bright and bold design made from recycled plastic. Not only will it get your loved one around in style, but the company also purchases the bottle caps from a guide dog charity that supports environmental initiatives, making it canine and planet-friendly! This exceptional gift from MoMa is as ethical as it is unique, and as practical as it is expressive.

9. Simple Use Lomochrome Black & White Camera

Moderna Museet, Stockholm | 380 SEK ($37)

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Capture festivities with an artistic flair. Photography novices and experimental pros alike would enjoy this easy-to-use black-and-white lomography camera. This film roll creates unique snaps with a grainy, retro, effect. Once finished, the camera can be loaded with any 35mm roll – and Moderna Museet sells a range!

10. Ithell Colquhoun Volcanic Flare/Decalcomania Backpack

Tate, UK | £179

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Ithell Colquhoun was a British Surrealist painter, specializing in occult and feminist themes. Her work depicts “psychomorphologies” of bold colors, forms, and compositions. This backpack is designed according to Colquhoun’s distinctive style, combined with Dr Marten’s iconic leather detailing. Get these matching boots to complete the look!

If you are on more of a budget but know someone with a love of modernist painting, check out this Colquhoun-inspired drawing ink set.

11. Bordeaux Leather Gloves & Geometry Hat

Museo del Prado, Madrid | €55-120

 

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Made from Spanish sheepskin, these elegant leather gloves can be found as a motif in many historical paintings of upper class individuals. Signifying taste and status, these gloves are inspired by Bartolomé González’s Queen Anne of Austria, fourth Wife of Philip II (ca. 1616), and would make the perfect gift for those with a flair of sophistication.

Add to the look with this unique bucket hat with a geometric design inspired by 15th century Spanish-Flemish painting advances in perspective.

12. Accessories

V&A, London | £20 – £75

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It’s hard to pick a favorite from the V&A as their whole online shop is just gorgeous! You wouldn’t expect much less from London’s home of textiles. The stylish cat-eye sunnies, quirky poodle socks, and hanging pearl earrings to match would make a gorgeous gift for anyone who enjoys classic fashion with a unique edge.

13. Albert Namatjira Tote Bag

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne | £17

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Celebrating beautiful depictions of rural Australian landscapes by Albert Namatjira, the NGV in Melbourne offers a selection of unique gift items based on his watercolor and ink paintings. With distinctive colors and a unique style, this tote bag makes a perfect gift.

14. Board Games

Louvre, Paris | €49,95

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Fancy some family fun this holiday season? Make it art history-themed with the Louvre’s collection of museum-based board games. Whether your loved one would enjoy Monopoly (only you organize exhibitions instead of acquire property), Cluedo, or a classic card game, the Louvre has got you covered with a unique twist on these well-loved games, and plenty more original ones to explore!

15. Botticelli’s Venus Gift Set

Uffizi Gallery, Florence | €44

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Reflecting the Uffizi’s epochal collection, this gift set gives renaissance art a modern twist. Featuring a t-shirt adorned with a bikini top of oyster pearl shells, a purse depicting Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and three brooches including a portrayal of Caravaggio’s Medusa, this would make the perfect gift for lovers of art history.

Bonus: DailyArt Shop

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If you need more suggestions for Christmas or Holiday gifts, feel free to check DailyArt’s shop—we’ve got a huge selection of gifts for art geeks, including calendars, socks, and gift box sets!

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