It’s no secret that Houston is home to some of the very best museums in the country, but it’s not just their exhibits that are expertly curated. Houston’s museum gift shops are a trove of interesting, imaginative, educational, and just plain quirky items. Yes, they have the usual posters, magnets, and piles of cotton t-shirts—not that we’re making fun; the T-Rex-trying-to-do-push-ups shirt at the HMNS is kind of awesome—but look deeper for gifts that come packaged with a museum-worthy backstory.
At the Museum of Natural Science, we found everything from truly striking butterfly displays and fossil bookends with a surprisingly modern appeal (because a 400-year-old antique is cool, but a 400-million-year-old orthoceras is, well, winning) to molecular gastronomy cocktail kits that’ll make a Wiley Dufresne fan giddy. All of the museums feature work from local artists (see the edgy chain mail collar by ANON9), but the shop at Bayou Bend takes local to the next level. The wood from its namesake handcrafted vessels is sourced right there on property, from trees that had to be taken down because of regular maintenance, the drought, and even Hurricane Ike.
Oh, and one more thing: if you’re a museum member, you’ll likely get a discount at checkout. Cha-ching.