Custom Museum Store Gifts

by Info Guru Angela K. Van Winkle

Museum stores are great places to find unique gifts for those hard to buy for people in your life.

They are a treasure trove of custom made items, including some you can personalize, and some that are just plain rare. Here are ten ideas for great gifts for all your favorite finicky friends and family.

10. Get the T-Shirt

Get the T-Shirt

Every museum gift shop has their own custom designs, and nothing says “thinking of you” like that funny science pun t-shirt only your geeky friend, Paul, will understand.

9. Or Maybe the Mug

Or Maybe the Mug

Like the proverbial “lousy t-shirt,” drinking vessels also tend to be a practical and you-can-only-get-this-here kind of gift. What about a Salvador Dali mug from the art museum for your art-loving cousin, or that Jane Austen characters mug for your aunt who has read all of Austen’s books and won’t stop talking about Pride & Prejudice. Ever.

8. Collectible Figurines

museum store figurine

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, sometimes you run across something truly beautiful, and, if you’re really lucky, it just might fit in with someone’s prized collection. A custom made Hummel figurine from that museum in Illinois, for example, or a reproduction Degas ballerina to go with your mom’s art figurine collection might be spotted at the natural history museum.

7. Special Date Memorabilia

Special Date Memorabilia

Some museum stores offer something personalized and unique, like this NY Times Front Page and coins display from a specific date, like your fiancee’s birthday or your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. You could also order something like this for a specific occurrence in history for your child’s favorite history teacher.

6. Custom Models

Custom Models

Your dad is a big aviation enthusiast, and has a model of every plane known to man (or at least to you). However, there’s always that one he hunts for at every hobby shop and toy store, but has never been able to find. The aviation museum may allow you to order a custom aircraft model made to your specifications, and then you can be the hero at the next Father’s Day gathering.

5. Puzzles and Games

Puzzles and Games

History is something to share and experience together. Children, especially, remember historical facts and names when they are put into games and puzzles. Thankfully, any decent history museum will have something to offer, like this Black History puzzle to share with the youngsters in your life.

4. Family Emblems

Family Emblems

Bringing home history can be so much more personal when you can find a piece of family history. A person’s family crest or clan tartan can often be found or ordered from museums that specialize in such things.

3. Retro Decor

Retro Decor

Military history museums often have fun gifts for vets and collectors alike, like this personalized Bomber Lounge sign with a vintage flair. These are also great gifts for bar owners or anyone who has a space they want to decorate with “retro” elements.

2. Maps for Me and You

Maps for Me and You

Maps and globes are classic museum-esque gifts, and they’re made even better when they are specific to your recipient’s location, like these My Town map coasters which shows segments of specific area street maps. This is a great gift for the cartographer or map enthusiast in your life.

1. That Special Snowflake

That Special Snowflake

Sometimes the best gift to give is something that is not only custom to the place you visited, but also the point in time. The Met’s 2016 Snowflake ornament is just such a gift. They come out with a new ornament every year, made special just for them, so you may never find that unique piece again, once the New Year settles in.

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