Find your holiday muse? Think outside the gift box

It is easy to take a jaunt up to Georgetown or hop on the Metro to Pentagon City to do your holiday shopping, but that is also boring, been-there-done-that work. Holiday gifts should be special, so make the most of our D.C. location and browse these museum gift shops for a twist on holiday gifts.

Hirshhorn

At this museum of contemporary art, the shop is small but not lacking in cool holiday gifts. They have several prints of different artists featured on the museum walls for $12 and postcards of artwork as well.

One of the top selling items currently is “The Way Things Go,” a DVD by visual artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, showing the connection and chain reactions between different objects. The film is also being played on the third floor of the museum, so this gift is a work of art worthy of museum walls and your friends’ holiday stocking. It costs $19.95.

The Color School, an abstract art movement of the 1960s originated in Washington and produced Gene Davis, one of the most well-known artists of this genre. Davis’ work includes painting of stripes and geometric shapes. Rather than just buying your friend a Davis print, you can pick up a tie or scarf with a reproduced design from one of his masterpieces. The scarf and tie are both $45.

National Archives

Washington runs amock with history. Take a bit of it home with you by visiting the National Archives gift shop, a great spot to find gifts perfect for your parents or your history buff friends back home.

As the rainy season approaches, why not get a “We the People” umbrella for a gift. Taking a line from the keystone of American documents: the Declaration of Independence, this gift is sure to thrill any history buff and keep them from getting soaked. It costs $25.

Sick of all the red tape in Washington? Well, the National Archives have turned that red tape into an amusing gift. Get your parents an authentic government red tape paperweight for a reduced price of $30 this holiday season. “Official documents were once bound with red twill tape that had to be cut through to gain access,” according to the National Archives Web site. This paperweight is a thick glass frame with a bit of original Civil War era red tape stuck in the middle. The tape once bound Union Army documents.

National Gallery of Art

This museum holds some of the world’s most famous works of art, its walls lined with the work of Edward Hopper and Henri Matisse. At the museum’s shop you can find the perfect holiday gifts for any art lover.

Currently, one of the hottest selling items are the National Gallery of Art’s holiday cards. Wish your friends and family seasons’ greetings with cards displaying religious art and winter wonderlands. You can get cards with Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Annunciation” that reads “With Christmas greetings and all good wishes for the New Year” for just $14.95.

Corcoran Gallery of Art

This modern art museum, just a hop, skip and a jump away from Thurston Hall, offers a selection of unique gifts from tableware to jewelry. One colorful gift idea is the Maiolica tin plate. It runs at $7.50, but is a perfect addition to brighten up your mother’s china collection. The plate is inspired by the early 16th century Maiolica ceramic “Footed Dish with the Arms of Medici,” which is associated with Giovanni de’Medici, an Italian noble who elected Pope Leo X! Another unique gift, one that would fit right into the stocking of a friend going abroad is the “Modernism Postcard Book”. This book is filled with postcards of famous modern works of art that were recently featured in an exhibit at the museum. It’s on sale for $4.95.

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