10 unique items (that you can buy right now) from museum gift shops

Unforgettable gifts that are sure to surprise

By Kae Lani Kennedy,

’Tis the season! As the time for holiday shopping draws near, so does the anxiety associated with buying the perfect gift for that special someone. Luckily, these online museum shops have a unique and unforgettable gift for every type of traveler.

They're practical, cultural, stylish, fun, thought-provoking and engaging – everything a traveler seeks! Added bonus: you don’t even have to leave your couch to buy from these gift shops.

History buff

Museum of the American Revolution | Philadelphia

Letter opener shaped like a Revolutionary-era sword — Photo courtesy of Museum of the American Revolution

En garde! This miniature replica of a Revolutionary-era sword will have you opening your mail like you’re a Continental soldier heading into battle. Hailing from Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution, the history buff you’re shopping for will enjoy this memento from the birthplace of America.

Smithsonian | Washington

Walking Liberty Half Dollar Pocket Watch — Photo courtesy of Smithsonian

Functional. Beautiful. Historical. The Walking Liberty Half Dollar Pocket Watch from the Smithsonian isn’t just a replica of the coin minted between 1916 and 1947. This pocket watch has a real Walking Liberty Half Dollar set in a metal casing.

Each coin varies slightly in appearance because of the year it was minted and also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Your history buff will get a lot of use from this unique piece of history.

Foodie 

Museum of Science | Boston

Astronaut Ice Cream Sandiwch — Photo courtesy of Museum of Science in Boston

This is an ice cream sandwich that can be enjoyed anywhere from the trail to outer space! Your foodie friend will not only enjoy the novelty of enjoying an ice cream sandwich from anywhere, but they’ll also enjoy the unique culinary experience of NASA’s freeze-dried ice cream. 

MoMA Design Store | New York

Modern Matcha Tea Set — Photo courtesy of MoMA Design Store

For the foodie who wants to bring the ancient art of Japanese matcha tea into their homes, the MoMA Design Store has a sleek set fit for any kitchen. The owner of this matcha tea set will not only enjoy a ritual for healthy living, but also the ability to revisit a different cultural food tradition whenever they please.

Adventurer

American Museum of Natural History | New York

LightBridge Mini 114 — Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

Stargaze from anywhere in the world with the LightBridge Mini from the American Museum of Natural History. This compact telescope is perfect for the adventurer who navigates the globe, but also wants to navigate the night sky. For camping, or those times when you have to go to remote places to catch a meteor shower, this is the telescope fit for exploration. 

American Museum of Natural History | New York

Hand Crank Solar Radio — Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

With a hand crank and solar power energy source, your adventurous friends will never have to worry about having extra batteries for their radio. The Hand Crank Solar Radio is perfect for camping, hiking and wherever the road may take a wandering traveler. 

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Art lover

The Getty | Los Angeles

Ancient Aztec Calendar Wood Bookmark — Photo courtesy of The Getty

For the art lover who explores the world looking for unique arts and handmade crafts, check out the Ancient Aztec Calendar Wood Bookmark from The Getty in Los Angeles. This handcrafted bookmark is made in Washington from locally and sustainably harvested wood.

American Museum of Natural History | New York

Sage 4 Brush Fan Calligraphy Set — Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

Give this calligraphy set to any appreciator of art on your shopping list. The traditional art of Chinese calligraphy mixes culture and composition into a gift that inspires travel – as well as creativity. 

Luxury traveler

MET | New York

Monet Water Lilies Shawl — Photo courtesy of MET

Luxury meets Impressionist art with this Monet Water Lilies Shawl from the MET in New York. It’s functional and fashionable and is a great gift for the luxury traveler who has either been to the MET or is aspiring to go some day. Wherever they may be in the world, this graceful shawl makes for the perfect accessory. 

The Guggenheim | New York

Plattan Bluetooth Headphones by Urbanears — Photo courtesy of The Guggenheim

Retreat into the beat at a busy airport or tune out the drone of a plane engine with these Plattan Bluetooth Headphones by Urbanears, featured on the Guggenheim’s gift shop.  The lucky recipient of this gift will enjoy perfect sound anywhere in the world with these easy-to-use, easy-to-pack headphones.