Museum Gift Guide: 15 Holiday Gift Ideas from Museum Gift Shops

The 2023 Museum Gift Guide Is Here!

The holidays are almost here, which means the gift-giving season is upon us. Beyond giving the gift of adventure with a Watson Adventures gift card, our annual holiday gift guide offers awesome options for anyone on your list.

While running in-person scavenger hunts and virtual games at museums all over the U.S., we’ve scoured museum gift shops to find unique, and occasionally absurd, gift ideas. And each purchase supports a beloved cultural institution, such as the Museum of Modern Art or the Art Institute of Chicago. So take a look at these 15 fun and unusual gift ideas from museum gift shops.

Star Light, Star Bright

Watson Adventures gift guide Starry Night

The first star you’ll see under the tree features in this LEGO rendition of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. And what says “Christmas” more than an American museum selling a Danish toy set depicting a Dutch man painting a French sky? MoMA Design Store, $170

Sleepy Holidays!

Watson Adventures gift guide the yawner

From the artist who brought you one of our favorite faces in art, The Vexed Man, comes a gift designed to make you yawn every time you look at it. Getty Center, $85

We Love Lucy

Not enough head and shoulders for you? Go prehistoric with this bust of Lucy, the famed face of the early human species Australopithecus afarensis. Field Museum, $36

Everybody Poops

Watson Adventures gift guide poop bingo

In case your Secret Santa recipient didn’t have identifying animals’ unique poops on their bingo card, they do now! Autry Museum of the American West, $20

Totes Cute

Run errands in style with the Art Institute of Chicago’s line of art-themed tote bags. Keep it classic with Monet’s Water Lilies, get messy with Jackson Pollock, or make a statement with this African spirit mask. AIC, $20-50

A Soup-er Deal

Any Warhol fan surely would love this tomato soup can neon sign. But we have to say, $650 for a can of soup? Thanks, inflation! MoMA Design Store, and yes, $650

Eight A-Peeling Nights

Watson Adventures gift guide banana menorah

If this Yellow Banana Menorah isn’t fun enough for you, consider the shinier brass version. Or skip the fruit and go right for dessert with this Hand Painted Donut Menorah. Minneapolis Institute of Art, $165 for bananas, $40 for donuts

Did Someone Mention Peeling?

The Houston Museum of Natural Science loves its kitchen stuff, but perhaps the cutest (and punniest) is this happy little Caterpeeler. HMNS, $13

A Goodie Hoodie

Watson Adventures gift guide Crooklyn Museum hoodie

Part of a collab between the Brooklyn Museum and Spike Lee, this Crooklyn Museum hoodie is a great way to support a beloved museum while seeming to insult it at the same time. Brooklyn Museum, $95

Punch Up the Jam

Let your loved ones get creative with this Make Your Own Music Box set from San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Punch holes in the musical strip to compose your own tune, then crank it through the mechanism to listen to your creation. Exploratorium, $27


Watson Adventures gift guide cowgirl pillow

For the country fan or Western Barbie enthusiast in your life, you’ll want to lasso this pink Giddy-Up throw pillow. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, $40

Shark Shots!

You’ll find collectible shot glasses and glassware in gift shops everywhere, but one of our favorites has to be this ostentatious whale shark shot glass from the Georgia Aquarium. How do you even drink with this thing? Maybe you pinch its tail and hold your pinkie up, fancy teatime style. Bottoms up! Georgia Aquarium, $15

Pickle Me This

Watson Adventures gift guide pickle ornament

Not everyone is aware of the tradition, but if you’re a pickle-in-the-Christmas-tree family, then Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum has you covered with this beautiful hand blown glass pickle ornament. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, $30

Christmas in Japan

Liven up an art-lover’s bookshelf with this dazzlingly detailed Sakura Tram book nook, featuring a lovely slice-of-life scene from Japan. MFA Boston, $53

Not What Dr. Seuss Had In Mind

Watson Adventures gift guide thing one sculpture

Finally, big spenders can head over to the Corning Museum of Glass to drop more than $5,000 apiece on Mark Leputa’s glass sculptures Thing One and Thing Two. We know it’s a lot, we’re not being funny, but you can have both if you spend lots of money! Corning Museum of Glass, $5,400 each

Find More Fun

Contact us to learn more about our in-person and virtual holiday games, including the new Ho-Ho-Ho for the Holidays Scavenger Hunt, the Puzzled for the Holidays Virtual Mystery Game, the Joy Around the World Virtual Scavenger Hunt, and more.

Image credits: All product images via their respective museums