No matter what your interest in miniatures is from dollhouses to scale railroads to handcrafted miniature silver works of art to military miniatures, you will find it at the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures located in Tucson, Arizona. This stunning miniature museum located in a state of the art building created by Swaim Associates Architects and with exhibit design by Claro Creative Studios is well worth a visit. The miniatures and the way they are exhibited are like no other miniature museum in the world. Children will love being able to lie on the glass tiled floor to peer into the magical miniatures displayed under their feet.
The museum is an outgrowth of one person’s love of miniatures and dollhouses. Patricia Arnell fell in love with miniatures when she was given her first dollhouse – a Strombecker wooden house, back in the 1930s. As an adult she continued to collect dollhouses and miniatures along with her husband Walter Arnell. They became involved in the very active miniature community in Tucson and decided they wanted to share their love of miniatures with the public which led to the founding of the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. The couple envisioned the museum as one that was interactive and magical and the thought of a mini time machine came out of the concept of being able to so involve visitors with the exhibits that they would feel like they had been transported to times depicted with the miniatures.
The mission of the nonprofit museum is to preserve and display miniatures from all over the world and from different time periods in an educational environment that fills the senses. The focus is on sharing miniatures and their importance in terms of historical significance, architectural development and artistic display. The exhibits contain both antique and contemporary miniatures. All proceeds from the museum goes toward maintaining and funding the museum.
The museum is organized into three main categories of collection including the Enchanted Realm, the History and Antiques Gallery and Exploring the World. In the Enchanted Realm visitors will find themselves surrounded by snow villages, fairy castles and woodland creatures. The History and Antiques Gallery is where you will find antique dollhouses such as the one from 1775 and other fascinating examples of life in miniature through the years. Visitors to the Exploring the World get to see how miniatures have been important to cultures around the world including miniatures from Germany, Holland, Japan, the United Kingdom, and France. In all there are more than 275 shadow boxes and dollhouses in the museum in addition to other miniature exhibits. Special exhibits have included one on how miniatures are used in theater set design, a G scale model railroading exhibit and a tiny travelling show.