Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
In search of a birthday gift? Skip the Georgetown shopping quagmire, and stop by the National Building Museum Shop. Every item has been painstakingly chosen to tell a story about design. Some pieces are clever (D.C. street map earrings), others inspired (purses crafted out of recycled military sacks), and some relay info about architecture (3D puzzles of Paris). The store also offers a robust selection of books on urban planning, construction, and sustainability, plus a cheeky hardback section categorized as “crazy stuff.” Locals will be surprised to find art highlighting specific neighborhoods, while style aficionados will want to pour over Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired jewelry. The store experience is so fun you won’t realize how much you’ve learned just walking around.