This coming Sunday is an annual day for people to consider shopping at a Museum. Not for the artefacts but in the gift shop.

It’s part of an annual campaign that doesn’t really get much attention – but Museum Shop Sunday is on 26th November 2023. Museum shops can range from a shelf next to the ticket entrance to efforts closer to a full-scale retail operation and are a major contributor to their income.

I personally have a bit of a thing for collecting mugs from venues I visit, but this is Ian’s personal shopping list from museum shops with online delivery

Egyptian Cat Bookends

These resin bookends are inspired by the British Museum’s ancient Egyptian collection. Closely associated with the cat-headed goddess Bastet, cats were highly respected in ancient Egyptian homes and temples, and were often mummified along with mice for them to eat in the afterlife.

They’re available from the British Museum for £45 for the two from here.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel socks

Honestly, it’s not Christmas without socks, and these are decorated with little 8-bit Isambard Kingdom Brunels for the engineers in your family.

They’re available from the Brunel Museum at £12.50 a pair from here.

Bah, Humbug! Mug

The present for the resident Christmas hater in your home. The mug features an image of Scrooge as seen in the original John Leech’s illustration from 1843 A Christmas Carol.

Available from the Charles Dickens Museum at £11.50 from here.

Dennis Severs’ wrapping paper

When buying presents, I can find myself spending as much effort finding the perfect wrapping paper to match the recipient’s interests — so actually by Dennis Severs then boyfriend, Simon Pettet — this wrapping paper is based on his blue-and-white delft tiles from the fireplace in the house’s Master Bedroom. It is not a gift to keep, but to wrap up another gift in paper that art lovers will appreciate.

Available from Dennis Severs’ House at £3.50 a sheet from here.

Perspective: Houses of Parliament

Something for the political anorak in the house, or someone who despises politics entirely. It’s actually a print by Ai Weiwei.

Available from the Design Museum at £30 from here.

Blueprint Spitfire Beer Glass

I’ve generally been wary of giving food and drink for Christmas presents*, as they don’t last much beyond New Year – but a beer glass is something that, accidents aside, lasts for years.

This just over half a pint glass from the Imperial War Museum is £15 from here.

*as a recipient, I am very keen on lots of drinks to dull the pain of Christmas

Four in a Row

A version of Connect Four (which is a trademark), this is the same game but with tube roundel shaped slots for the disc to drop into.

Available from the London Transport Museum at £20 from here.

London landmark cup and saucers

There’s a set of architectural landmark cup and saucers for each of the four corners of London — which is a bit unusual as architectural landmarks tend to focus only on the centre of London. So you can pick the region you live in.

Available from the Museum of London at £25 a set

East London | North London | South East London | South West London

Army Troopers

If there’s a man of a certain age in your life, these will likely raise a smile — more of a joke present though, unless they end up actually playing with them. In which case, you’ve earned yourself hours of not being disturbed.

Available from the National Army Museum at £7.50 for a pack of 32 figures from here.

Silver Glitter Skull Ball

Snowglobes with pretty winter models are so dreary, so something for the goth in your life with this skull glitter ball. The same deathly obsession, but with glitter.

Available from the National Gallery for £10 from here.

Luminous Globe Wooden Build Kit

A bedside lamp in the shape of a globe, with a distinctively steampunk aesthetic — and it’s a model kit you assemble yourself.

Available from the National Maritime Museum for £50 from here.

Stegosaurus Brass Christmas Tree Decoration

OK, not really a present for Christmas day, but as most of us are going to eat the descendants of a dinosaur for Christmas lunch, how about hanging one of their ancestors on the tree?

Available from the Natural History Museum at £12 from here.

Grenade Ice Cube Mould

Way with boring ice cubes, and in with these – very large for an ice cube — ice grenades instead.

Available from the RAF Museum at £7.50 from here.

Waiter Winestopper

I have heard rumours of a strange sort of person, who opens a bottle of wine and only drinks some of it, leaving the rest for another day. If you know of such an exceptionally odd person, then some waiter bottle stoppers might be garish enough to dissuade them from such unhealthy behaviour.

Available from the Royal Academy of Arts at £18.50 from here.

Science Museum History of the Computer Mug

This mug explores and celebrates how far computer technology has come from the very first computer to the modern era.

Available from the Science Museum at £10 from here.

Retro style kitchen timer

No more relying on the oven clock (which is wrong more often than not), this magnetic kitchen timer is a far easier to use.

Available from the Museum of the Home at £6.95 from here.

Christmas stocking

Probably vastly more expensive than the gifts that will go inside it, at least these royal Christmas Stockings will last many years

Available from The King’s Gallery at £60 from here.

V&A Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto natural tote bag

A real Chanel handbag is rather an expensive gift, so in its absence, try a tote bag instead — and there’s a taste of authenticity as it’s made for the V&A’s Chanel exhibition.

Available at the V&A Museum for £25 from here.


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