Gift Ideas
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Here’s why Vanity Fair thinks museum gift shops are underrated

Yaaay! Halloween madness is over and everyone’s officially allowed to start talking Christmas. Even my beloved Vanity Fair was delivered with a pretty thick supplement on gift ideas for those who have unlimited budgets and very little time to come up with something original.

If you are patient enough to flick through endless photo shoots of designer must-haves (and you bet I am!), page 76 will come as a pleasant surprise: it lists top museum shops in various parts of the world which stock the most amazing items.

My love for museum gift shops has been a fascinating affair for many many years now. Not a single visit to any exhibition ends without checking out what’s available to take home. Occasionally, you will find annoyingly overpriced key rings with ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tags, but generally museums try to support local talent and provide unparalleled value.

These gifts will suit everyone who is into arts, values originality or simply loves being surrounded by quirky things.

Apologies if you are reading this post outside Europe, but I’m gonna list the museums that I personally love and can vouch for. All gifts below are available online, so just click on the links.

Tate Modern, London

London’s Holy Grail of high quality souvenirs. As we are talking gifts, not souvenirs, my pick from their shop is the homewares collection by Yinka Shonibare:

yinka shonibare tea pot

Made from fine bone china, this teapot is guaranteed to become a dream item for any worthy tea lover.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Being the most visited museum in the Netherlands, its gift shop offers a surprisingly serious take on museum souvenirs. Look out for their jewellery, as it’s exquisite without looking outdated.

rijksmuseum dragonfly

This dragonfly is anything but boring, with many colours to suit a variety of outfits, making it an ideal everyday piece.

Guggenheim, Bilbao

Rightfully considered a work of art itself, this museum attempts to shift our perceptions of what art should be about, and it’s clearly visible from their gift selection.

Cute and affordable, their specialty is stationary. Isn’t this pencil sharpener genius?

guggenheim pencil sharpener

What do you think of museum gift shops? Worth a visit or a waste of time?  🙂

Stay tuned!

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Currently living and working in London, I dedicate a few hours every week to share my gifting knowledge, accumulated over the years of epic gift fails and unexpected triumphs. I'm much better at giving personal recommendations than trying to be generic, so feel free to drop me a line.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Vanity Fair on Gifts: Uninspiring but Caroline Issa might have just saved it… | Gifting Basics

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