Seeing the Smithsonian catalog in my mailbox is a treat year round, but I especially enjoy it at Christmastime!
Ranging from fine art prints and breathtaking furniture to whimsical clothing and accessories, the catalog is jam-packed with interesting and unique gift ideas for just about everyone on your list.
Like any museum store, the products in the Smithsonian’s catalog have to relate to their collection in order to keep their non-profit status. Each product’s description clearly states its connection to the vast number of artifacts in the Smithsonian’s collections.
For example, the description for an exquisite stained glass lamp (Item #37263 ) with a fleur-de-lis motif concludes with the statement, “Louis Comfort Tiffany lamps are represented in the domestic life collections, National Museum of American History, Behring Center.” A Native American style turquoise necklace (Item #40189) was “inspired by jewelry in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.”
It is almost as much fun reading about the collections of the Smithsonian as it is to look at each beautiful photograph of products in the catalog!
Some of the items are quite pricey, but there is a special discounted price for Smithsonian members. The items are high quality, and all of the profits directly support the Museum. With each purchase, you receive an exquisite product, while you simultaneously help to fund exhibitions and public programs at the Smithsonian’s 16 individual museums, plus the National Zoo.
Browse the website, or sign up to get the catalog. Even if all you can do is “window shop” by flipping through the pages, you’re bound to enjoy it!
Or why not visit your local museum and see what unique items they have in their museum shop? You will find all kinds of things you can't find anywhere else, from specialty food items to historic toys, games, and books. And best of all, you will be supporting the museum's educational mission! Museum shop revenue often makes up a large part of a museum's budget, so next time you need a gift, stop there instead of the mall!