The Taite Guide to Gift Shops
Museums were first invented in Paris, France by Jean Paul Yurr Hedoff in 1789. Jean was employed by Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin as a cleaner upper or as they called it in those days a nettoyeur de têtes. It was Jean’s job to clean up the mess after a Guillotine. The poor man found that after a few weeks he had quite a collection of disembodied heads and blood stained clothing and a growing crowd of visitors who wanted to see the artifacts for themselves. So it happened that Jean, behind the back of his employer and the authorities, opened his house to paying vistors and aptly named it The Tête Museum. But did not suffice the hunger of the French masses who wanted to take home a piece of history, be it a fingernail, eyeball or bloodstained handkerchief. Thus was born the museum gift shop.
Over the years the museum giftshops have proved to be as popular as the musuems themselves. It’s one thing to see an original Shakespeare manuscript in the British (boring!) but who can resist a battery operated chimp reciting To be or not to bein French. Here are some of the more interesting souvenirs that can be found in gift shops worldwide.
Hampton Court Palace- The Six Wives of Henry VIII Playset for Toddlers. Put the heads of each of Henry’s wives into the right slot and Henry will open his mouth wide, give a loud yawn and stuff himself with raw meat.
The Louvre – The Mona Lisa Morph. Buy this can’t live without utility for the bargain price of €127 ($494 for American tourists who demand to pay in dollars) and transform yourself into a beautiful Mona.
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