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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


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


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

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

A pair of socks with painterly vibes

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

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

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 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


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