Staff Picks From the Museum Shop

Staff Picks From the Museum Shop

Here are some of our favorite items currently on the shelves in the Museum Shop.

Sand Pictures

Created by Austrian artist, Klaus Bösch, sand pictures feel like a million years of geological time condensed between two panes of glass. People stand in the gift shop for embarrassing amounts of time watching them flow. Just sand, air, and water—but the trick is they’re interactive. You flip them over and air rises from the bottom to catch the sand before it falls. Every flip creates a unique topography, somewhere between land and seascape. Even better, each sand picture comes with a kit that allows you to adjust the amount of air inside. More air creates sharper peaks. Less air and you get drifting dunes. Both are great, and you get to decide.

Buddha Board

Looking for a way to explore those Zen concepts of living in the moment and non-attachment without whispering mantras late into the night? How about a Buddha Board? The idea is simple. You dip the brush in water and paint on the board’s surface to reveal a bold design. Then, as the water evaporates, your image recedes back into the original blankness, leaving you with an ever-renewed, clean slate. The image can be anything you want: spontaneous brushwork, calligraphy, hopes, dreams, a grocery list, whatever. The point is that all things evaporate in equal time. No judgments, no attachments. If only the rest of life could be so simple.


And finally, there’s Zometool Inc., a modeling toy company based locally in Longmont, Colorado. Zometool kits are made up of nodal spheres, each fitted with 62 geometric holes, which can be connected by a variety of shape- and color-coded sticks. The design possibilities are almost limitless (though starter kits with instructions for building specific models are a good place to start). Based on modeling theories across scientific disciplines, you can get as advanced with these toys as you want. The company will tell you, for example, that: Zometool models spatial structures representing hyperspaces of up to 61 dimensions, geodesic space-frame structures, [and] molecular models, including quasicrystals and Fullerenes. Right. But it’s also fun for kids 6 and up to build simple house designs, animals, or to just let their imaginations go wild in any free-form direction they like. Come visit the Zometool wall in our kid’s section and play with our sample kit. See what you can create.