Museum-goers know the best way to wrap up a visit to their favorite spot on the National Mall is with a stop in the museum gift shop. What better place to find a bit of what you’ve seen to take home? With 14 Smithsonian branches and other museums scattered around the D.C. metro area, finding a nifty gift for everyone on your list should be no problem at all.
National Gallery of Art Aside from its massive book collection, do-it-yourself versions of famous artworks are a theme in the National Gallery’s underground gift shop. • Kids can arrange their own fruit and veggie portraits with a Giuseppe Arcimboldo sticker book ($8.95). • An Alexander Calder-esque mobile clip photo hanger ($13.99) is perfect for the family shutterbug. • For the less artistically inclined, a set of Overheard at the Museum magnets says it all. “It’s all dots,” “I’m getting bored” and “Let’s go to the gift shop first” are just a few of the clever quips in the set ($16.95).
National Museum of Natural History The two gift shops at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History are packed with eclectic gifts perfect for your favorite nature lover. • Animal-loving yoga enthusiasts may appreciate a frog figurine in one of several yoga poses ($25). • Giraffes, chameleons and crocodiles made from recycled soda cans are an eco-friendly option for the knickknack collector on your list ($18). • A National Mall pop-up map ($15) would be perfect for a cartography fan. • A smaller, curse-free replica of the Hope Diamond ($50) is perfect for those who love jewelry. • A notebook made out of panda poo ($10) (remember, pandas eat a lot of fibrous bamboo) is about as environmentally friendly as it gets. • Bug collectors could enjoy a computer mouse with a spider, beetle or scorpion encased inside to add to their collection ($25).
National Museum of American History There’s not a better spot on the Mall to find Americana-themed gifts than at the Museum of American History. • Don’t want to cave in to the kids’ pleas for a puppy? Give them a Pet Tornado (think: a miniature tornado inside glass) ($6). Bobbleheads depicting characters from “The Wizard of Oz” accompany the tornado nicely ($18). • If 2-D puzzles aren’t challenging enough, 3-D puzzles of the White House ($10) and the Capitol ($15) should keep someone busy. • Who wouldn’t like an accessory that could keep their head warm and make them look like a historical figure? Abe Lincoln top hats, beard not included, are plentiful here ($12).
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.