I’ve already shared some of my recent Tucson vacation highlights with you, like my visits to DeGrazia gallery and Tohono Chul park but there’s lots more to come. Today I’ll share the fun day my mom and I spent at the miniature museum, which I’d never even heard of until this visit.
My mom in front of the museum; I think their huge door is designed to make you feel miniature!
As the name suggests, this is a museum for all things miniature. I have to admit that I had zero interest in miniatures before going to this museum … but I’ll also be the first to say that the museum sparked an interest in me because of the amazing displays it showcases.
What Are Miniatures
See the tiny violins inside of this real-sized violin? They are all designed so well that they really can be played!
All I really knew about miniatures was that they were tiny replicas of things set up in dollhouse-style displays. While that’s a basic truth, it turns out that there is so much more to this art. I learned lots of amazing things about miniatures from this museum:
- Miniature objects are done to scale. They are carefully constructed to be genuine to the item they are representing and exact scaled size is important.
- Miniatures represent historical accuracy. They are designed with a lot of research by the artist to truly reflect the history of the era they depict. There are miniatures for nearly every period of history and these showcases can provide a terrific history lesson.
- Miniature objects are often created using the same material as the original. So, for example, if a certain kind of wood would have been used then it’s used in the miniature. In some cases a very tiny version of the same material doesn’t look the same, marble was given as an example, and then the miniaturist will use another material that looks as accurate as possible. One item my mom really loved, although sadly my picture of it didn’t come out, was really tiny Waterford crystal glasses with all of the detail in miniature.
- Miniatures are not always displayed in “dollhouses”. There are many different ways to display miniatures. My favorite section was the display of found objects that had been turned into animated music boxes with miniatures that danced along them.
- Some miniatures have working parts. Very cool.
- Miniatures can be whimsical or more realistic. There are very accurate representations of miniature people in their homes and then there are animals and other creatures of fancy. There’s a miniature for everyone!
Here’s an example of one display:
And here is one detail of a figure within that display:
More About the Miniature Museum
The actual name of the museum is The Mini Time Machine: Museum of Miniatures. Co-founder Patricia Arnell fell in love with miniatures as a child in the 1930′s and resumed that passion with collecting in the 1970s. The museum has a strong basic permanent collection of miniatures. It is set up with an air of magic (look for fairies!) and an emphasis on showcasing the many different styles and eras of miniatures. The museum also has changing exhibits; the one that was there during my visit was about the use of miniatures in movie-making. Very interesting!
I took lots more photos so expect a follow-up photo rich post from the miniature museum soon!