Have you ever had a doll house growing up?
Probably the ladies reading this post and maybe some men with sisters, did. Well, I did and so did my daughter.
During our little trip to Tucson, how could we miss exploring the world of miniatures by visiting the The Mini Time Machine Museum?
How we found it
Many would probably try to find something more touristy to do in a new town. I’m not saying that the most important sites aren’t worth seeing, but hidden gems are always worth exploring as well.
On our last day in Tucson I was going through a magazine that talked about all the places worth visiting. I noticed a photo like of kids standing on a very particular floor with a little town under their feet (like the picture here). I was intrigued. This was probably going to be the most original and fascinating place to take our kids for a few hours. I was so right!!!
When we arrived at the front of this magical museum, we found 3 doors of different sizes. Our kids didn’t even notice this finesse of it all. I wondered how many just walk in without noticing this detail as well. We are so focused on our little worlds that sometimes we just miss out on seeing the beauty of what is surrounding us. However we were already fascinated by the first step in!
The first room brought us right into this little world. All around us there were doll houses! While we were paying the tickets, our curiosity was growing and all you wanted to do was see more of this fascinating place and all the amazing pieces that were displayed.
As we went through the museum rooms, we found more and more houses, miniature furniture, little room set ups, little characters placed in this little world Everything was built with patience and attention to every single detail. Each house amazed us, every detail surprised us and more than once I found myself wondering if maybe I was visiting a different world, one where I was the giant out-of-place!
Kids in a museum
To get the kids more involved into the visit, the lady at the entrance gave them a little fairy search to do. They each got a flyer with images of five missing fairies, who had been placed in different houses all over the museum. The kids’s goal was to find them!
What was the prize for their discovery? Simply be proud of themselves for doing so! They could also build a little paper box with the fairy flyer they received at the beginning of their search. That could be considered a little gift.
Initially our kids weren’t so sure it was that cool, but then they ran off on their search. They were so excited to show us where all the fairies were. At one point they also showed us some “cool” details they noticed about the different houses they looked at. This was a good excuse for them to really look into all the houses around the museum with more attention and get fascinated! It was really hard to take them away once we were done!
A bit of history about Miniatures
Miniatures have been part of the human culture for thousand of years. The Egyptians placed lifelike dioramas in their tombs to represent the ideal world that they would find in their afterlife. Every detail was represented in these little models.
Many religions used miniatures to represent their spiritual needs, such as nativity scenes for Christmas or spirit houses in Thailand.
In the 16th century in Europe, miniatures were used to show off all of people’s prized possessions. Every tiny copy of what they owned would be displayed in a cabinet house.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many salesman samples were produced. They were scaled-down versions of real products used to sell the products to potential customers. These miniature goods were easily transportable. This made them perfect for traveling salespeople. It also allowed dealers to display a variety of items in their showrooms that could then be easily ordered directly from a manufacturer.
Unlike toy versions, many of these samples were highly detailed with working parts so they could be used to show full functionality. It is kind of funny to think how today all we need is an iPad or a website and some good photos to display all the goods we are selling and show them to potential buyers….. times change!
Modern manufacturing techniques made this a common good that everyone could own. This is when doll houses became more affordable for people. However it is still considered an art today and the work from the past still inspires many contemporary artists.
As we were leaving this amazing little museum, I felt great admiration for this type of art. I am in awe of all the artisans that patiently spend their time creating such complex pieces. But I also kept on thinking of how our lives have evolved from the past. Some times for the best but sometimes I wonder if we haven’t lost some of that magic with all our new technology ……..
If you are ever in the Tucson area I recommend spending a couple of hours in this amazing museum!
If you want to see more about the United States click here!
Check out the lovely hotel we stayed at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon!!!