Growing up, my Aunt Tina always gave the best holiday presents. She grew up in New Orleans but ultimately settled down in Washington, D.C. for a job that took her all over the world. When elegant treasures like hand-painted Russian nesting dolls and Chinese ink sticks arrived under our Christmas tree I hardly knew what to do. Such pretty and exotic things stuck out amongst my piles of Barbie and Ken figures. At first, I scarcely used them (although I could have), not because they were too precious but because I never wanted them to be used to the point that I couldn’t use them anymore! I cherished these gifts like show ponies, carefully hiding them in secret spaces where no one could find them and potentially scuff them up.

I always assumed these gifts were from Tina’s far eastern travels (and plenty of them were), but it wasn’t until I got older and she began gifting similar things to my children that I realized she had a source much closer to home. Museums! The D.C. area is home to a slew of world-class museums like the Smithsonian Art Museum, National Museum of Asian Art, Natural History Museum, National Museum of African Art and the list goes on. But New Orleans has some of the best museums in the country! And the beauty of exploring the gift shops in ANY museum is that each item is carefully selected to be an object of wonder. More often than not, the gift shop curator cares as much about what you take home as what you took in at their museum. It is an important extension of your museum experience. Now, like my Aunt Tina I share the same reverence for all museum gift shops. I know I can always count on finding local artist creations or something unique connected to the museum’s subject matter. I hope you can too.  

Clockwise: 

Dominique Rainieri Earrings, NOMA Store

Louisiana Roots Limited Edition Print, Ogden Museum Store

WW2 Planes Tie, WW2 Museum Store

Mignon Faget Rosette Studs, Hermann Grima House

Brunch Bowl, NOMA Store

Rachel DePauw Cheese Platter, The Shop at the Collection 

Well Curated: Museum Gift Giving Guide

Clockwise: 

Sno Ball Shirt, Historic New Orleans Collection

Warhawk Cap, WW2 Museum

Archival Image Blanket, The Shop at the Collection

Lavendar Cucumber Soap, Hermann Grima House

Pine Votive Holders, The Shop at the Collection 

Well Curated: Museum Gift Giving Guide

Clockwise: 

Make a Face Set, NOMA Store

Stuffed Swan, The Shop at the Collection

Life of Basquiat, The Shop at  the Collection

Make a Tambourine, NOMA Store

Kids Weather Watch, NOMA Store

Leaf Playing Cards, NOMA Store

Peacock Colors, NOMA Store