Best Fictional Gift Shop
826DC’s Museum of Unnatural History
It’s hard to find dental floss for a saber-toothed cat; of course, that’s because the idea of dental care for an extinct feline is absurd. Which is the genius behind the Museum of Unnatural history. In a town fraught with gift shops for legitimate museums of all stripes, the store’s very existence is like a soft commercial satire. The shop is real, but the gifts are not. Patrons stop in to “put the sparkle into sadness” with a jar of unicorn tears, or to pick up samples of confused, disaffected, and existentially distraught wood (unnatural cousins of the better-known petrified variety). The store helps fund the writing workshops and tutoring sessions put on by 826DC, a local branch of the national non-profit founded by author Dave Eggers. Take a peek at the shop’s creatively incorrect evolution lessons, and remember that—at least according to the prominently placed signage—the stuffed owl with an elephant’s trunk is very angry, but he’s not angry at you.