The Best Gifts For People Who Miss Going To Museums

If you're wondering what to get your favorite culture vulture, here are some artsy gifts they'll appreciate.

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These gifts for art lovers are almost as good as a trip to a museum. 
These gifts for art lovers are almost as good as a trip to a museum. 

If you’ve been missing museums lately, you aren’t alone — there are tons of us who wish we could go out and see galleries.

The pandemic has changed just about anything you can think of, including making us wear masks and touch things a whole lot less. Schools have gone online and work is being done from home, so it’s not a surprise that museums around the globe have had to close their doors. It’s estimated that 13% off museums might permanently close because of the pandemic, according to UNESCO.

That’s why it’s important to support the museums you know and love. These institutions typically depend on donations, entrance fees and memberships, as well as money made from gift shops (including online museum stores!).

The season of gift-giving is just around the corner, and you probably want to get your shopping done sooner rather than later, whether you’re looking for self-care gifts for the tired feminists in your life, cute face masks that are the perfect stocking stuffers or travel gifts for those with wanderlust. Of course, you can’t forget a gift for the friend who misses going to museums.

Below, you’ll see everything from a geometric vase inspired by artist Piet Mondrian that you can find at the Museum of Modern Art’s online store to a set of column bookends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s e-gift shop. These will give your friend who misses museums a little dose of culture to get them through until their next visit.

Check out these gifts for the friend who misses going to museums:

A curated set of mini nail polishes
This set of five nail polishes was made in collaboration with the Met's “About Time” exhibition. The little polishes come in four exclusive hues, including "Cameo," a cream color, and "Talisman," a silver shade. Find the set for $54 at J.Hannah.
A ceramic version of a New York classic
MoMA Design Store
If your friend likes to get a cup of coffee before getting lost at a museum, this cup — in the style of the paper cups used by New York City diners and street vendors — can bring back that feeling. It's reusable, too, making it a great eco-friendly gift. Find it for $15 at the MoMA Design Store.
A bow earring inspired by an painting from the 1700s
This single earring (you can choose to go with the set, too) is made from 14-carat yellow gold in Catbird's Brooklyn studio. It's inspired by a painting by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (who also painted Marie Antoinette) that is housed at the Met. The earring was designed just in time for the museum's 150th birthday. Find it for $78 at Catbird.
A set of column bookends that are marbleous
The Met Store
These bookends are based on the Sardis column that you can find at the Met. The column was originally dedicated to the goddess Artemis, a fun fact your friend who's gaga over ancient Greece will appreciate. Find the set for $125 at the Met Store.
A vase that has different shades to it
MoMA Design Store
Get all geometric with this vase, which is based on the work of Piet Mondrian. The vase is designed with three chambers to fit all of your favorite buds. Find it for $100 at the MoMA Design Store.
A work of art that can hold groceries, too
The Smithsonian Store
For the friend who's just wild about Warhol, this tote bag is printed with one of the artist's most iconic (and colorful) works. It comes with three limited-edition pins, including one with a print of a self-portrait by Warhol and another with pretty poppies. Find it for $25 at the Smithsonian Store.
A puzzle that makes its own little museum
Uncommon Goods
Take a walk through this exhibition, which features faces like NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. All you have to do is figure out which pieces go where — and with 1,000 pieces, this one will take a minute. Find it for $18 at Uncommon Goods.
A set of masks that'll make an impression
The Met Store
This set of two masks will make an impression, since the prints are taken from the works of famous painters Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. The floral masks can each fit a filter inside them. Find the set for $25 at the Met Store.
A bold French press for coffee with a lot of body
MoMA Design Store
This French press features bright colors that are sure to cheer up your favorite coffee lover who also appreciates bold design. This coffee maker has a chrome-plated steel frame and glass carafe. Find it for $25 at the MoMA Design Store.
A set of stained glass coasters from Tiffany
The Met Store
These coasters are taken from the works of Louis C. Tiffany, who was known for his stained glass. Find the set for $28 at the Met Store.
A pair of socks with painterly vibes
Hot Sox
Hot Sox has an "Artists Series" of socks featuring famous faces like "The Girl With The Pearl Earring" and the "Mona Lisa" in all her glory. But we're especially in love with these, which have a colorful portrait of painter Frida Kahlo. Find them for $10 at Hot Sox.
A Met edition for beloved (or dreaded) Monopoly
The Met Store
Monopoly got a little makeover. In this edition, you can make mini museums and add new galleries with money from paintings you'll only see at the Met. Find it for $50 at the Met Store.
A collection of notecards for the friend who's trying to save the USPS
It's been a tough year for the USPS. If you have a friend who has been posting all about saving snail mail, they'll appreciate this set of notecards that come in a mailbox and feature pictures of stamps from the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. They can send you a handwritten thank-you note. Find it for $20 at Amazon.
A paperweight to have the world at their fingertips
Smithsonian Store
Touring a museum or two might always be on the to-do list of your friend who loves traveling. But since that may not be possible right now, you could get them a globe to have hanging on their desk. It's made with inlays of stones like green jade and marble. Find it for $50 at the Smithsonian Store.
A mug that's slightly surreal
The Met Store
What a smug mug — this one has the face of Salvador Dalí, with his well-known mustache. It's ideal for the art lover who prefers the strange things in life. Find it for $25 at the Met Store.
A set of salt and pepper shakers for the landmark lover
Tenement Museum
The Tenement Museum, based in New York's Lower East Side, is focused on sharing stories of immigrants. And the museum's online shop has lots of New York-inspired items for the New Yorker in your life. These Chrysler and Empire State Building-shaped salt and pepper shakers would be a cute gift to give. Find it for $30 at the Tenement Museum.
A doormat that's got a lot of architectural edge
Inspired by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this doormat has the geometric pattern featured on windows that Wright designed for a playhouse in Illinois. It's quite a welcoming present, if we do say so ourselves. Find it for $50 at ShopPBS.
A pair of pearl earrings that aren't traditional
The Met Store
Pearl earrings are pretty much as classic as it gets — but these aren't like the ones you're used to, with a mismatch of black and white. The earrings were inspired by a painting from the 1500s of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Find them for $75 at the Met Store.
A statue that won't take up too much space
MCA Store
A statue of the goddess of love is meant for those you really love. The statue has been crafted to look classic, but with bubblegum blue and pink shades to make it look much more modern. It's handmade in Greece and available at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's online store. Find it for $90 at the MCA Store.
A sketching set to have whenever the creative mood strikes
The Met Store
If your friend hasn't been able to see art, they might as well make their own. This sketching set includes colored pencils, soft pastels, a graphite pencil and sharpener — all in a leather case to take on the go. Find it for $45 at the Met Store.
A coffee cup that features, uh, some pretty bad art
What's better than good art? Truly terrible art. There's actually a museum dedicated to it called the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA for short). This mug is "mixed media meets mixed feelings" — so you know you're in for some real unusual work. Find it for $16 at Amazon.
Insect decor that won't bite
MoMA Design Store
Hey, if they can't go to a botanical garden, you can bring the garden to them with these 3D, DIY insects that they can hang on the walls. Your friend can put together the pieces and feel like an artist themselves. Find it for $10 at the MoMA Design Store.
A journal with a bit of Baroque flair
The Met Store
A penny for your thoughts? If your friend is one to overthink, they probably will appreciate something that lets them jot down all their thoughts. And this Met-branded journal might do just the trick. It's inspired by an 18th-century French book cover. Find it for $18 at the Met Store.
A pair of sneakers that are ready for a stroll
MoMA Design Store
These sneakers are "collectors’ items for your feet" and an exclusive to MoMA. We can't help but love the colorful patchwork. These shoes come in unisex sizing, and are meant for someone really special. Find them for $80 at the MoMA Design Store.
A T-shirt with a friendly reminder
The Pérez Art Museum Miami is a goldmine for gifts that any art lover will appreciate, with pouches and mugs that are works of art themselves. The person who misses museums won't be able to resist this T-shirt. Find it for $19 at the PAMM Store.