When I was little I enjoyed visiting a museum gift shop almost as much as the museum exhibitions! I have an inherent love of the curious and quirky display of beautifully curated items that reflect the museum’s exhibitions. A little piece of a fascinating subject to take home. I used to be fascinated and drawn in by every museum shop I visited when I was younger. Maybe it’s my age and the fact that I can’t get as excited as my 10 year old self about massive lollipops, embossed pencils or iridescent butterfly stickers, but nowadays my love of museum shops is waning and I often feel disappointed when I visit them.
Of course, I could never not go inside, just to check and make sure that the causes of my disillusionment are still there, but hopeful that I find something completely bonkers to excite me again and to prove that things have turned a corner. It could be the recession and the competition of wonderful platforms like Etsy and Folksy where you would now go to find all the curious and quirky objects you used to be able to find in museum shops, but it does seem to me that most museum shops are just playing it safe now. So I frequently walk out with nothing but a handful of postcard reproductions of paintings rather than the designer recycled glass vases and other unusual things I used to dig up.
But stop the press! I recently made a discovery, thanks to my brother, that is restoring my faith and excitement in museum shops. Cue my list of 10 inexpensive and amazing gifts that would please everyone, from tiny explorers to grown-up design aficionados!
I’ve got my eye on the Snow pounce wall print. The angle is beautiful and dynamic while also being quite calming I think. I also really fancy the canvas bag with vintage print, although I was disappointed because last week they had a mug with the print but now it’s gone from the website. C’est la vie! I think it’s safe to say that museum shops are on the up again and I can get excited about them again.
There are loads more inventive and unique gifts on the Natural History Museum’s website if you want to take a look!
Do you enjoy visiting museum shops too? Out of the items I’ve chosen, which is your favourite? I think I might have to start stockpiling for Christmas! How about you?