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Museum shops offer unique holiday gifts

Complete your shopping while enjoying an attraction

Beautiful glass items available at the Museum of Glass shop. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Tired of the same old gifts? Having trouble being creative with your presents? Museum shops are filled with distinctive items at all price points that you won't find anywhere else. Rather than spend a whole day shopping, enjoy an afternoon at a local museum and finish up your shopping on the way out.

The Museum of Glass has a 2,500-square-foot museum store. It is an impressive shop with a wide range of beautiful handmade glass and ceramic pieces by contemporary artists.  Pieces are also available from the museum's resident team of glassblowers and are made in the Hot Shop. One item that makes a great gift is a paperweight-sized glass cone, which is a model of the iconic 90-foot stainless steel cone that contains the museum's Hot Shop. At less than $25, it is a great price and is beautiful as an art piece or as a paperweight. The store also has a great collection of books, a children's section with games and toys, and a fine jewelry counter.

Museum of Glass, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday, 1801 Dock St, Tacoma, 253.284.4750,

The Cannon Shop at the Lewis Army Museum is a good stop for the military history lover in your family. If you haven't been there  in a while, it is worth checking out. In its old location, the merchandise was all behind a counter. The new location is open and inviting with a much larger selection, including a wide variety of books, clothing and I Corps and Stryker merchandise. Models of the Stryker vehicle are popular as are hoodies with the iconic Lewis Gate on the front. Classic posters from World War I up to present day can be a gift for teenagers that love video games such as Call of Duty.    

The Cannon Gift Shop, Lewis Army Museum, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, 4320 Main St. and Constitution Dr., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 253.967.4523,

If you have a car fanatic on your list, the shop at Lemay - America's Car Museum is the place to be.  The store has a large collection of items that are all automobile related.  There is clothing as well and games and toys for the kids. Models of classic cars are available.  Collections relating to the Mustang, Ford Motor Company and Route 66 offer a variety of gifts. If a road trip is in your future, the shop has books with great ideas as well as fun car games like "Mad Libs on the Road." Another creative gift for older children is the Ford Model T Steel Laser Kit:  Snap out the pieces and make a model of the classic Ford automobile.

LeMay - America's Car Museum, daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 2702 E. D St., Tacoma, 253.683.3966,

Shopping can be fun when you don't restrict yourself to the mall. There are many more local museums and attractions in the area than space allows, so explore and find some unique gifts this holiday season.

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