I moved to Tucson in 2001--16 years ago! And last week was the first time I have visited this gem of a museum.
I do not know how I missed it. I am glad I finally found it--what a wonderful discovery.
All of the exhibits are behind glass and, even though I was allowed to take pictures, you will see some glare or fuzziness in every one.
The museum is divided into three galleries with separate themes...
THE ENCHANTED GALLERY
The center of this gallery is dominated by this wonderful tree with many tiny peep-holes...
...and a fairy that flitters here and there.
The inhabitants of the tree are tiny mice.
Surrounding the tree are miniature scenes inhabited by dragons, fairies, mice, frogs or storybook characters.
Made by Playmobil, a German company that produces easily assembled toys.
"The Kewpie Craze"
"Easter Scene in a Coffee Pot"
"Tea Room in a Tea Pot"
"The Nutty Professor"
by Glenda Hooker--1997
(based on characters created by Eddie Murphy in the movie "The Nutty Professor")
"EXPLORING THE WORLD GALLERY"
"Oriental Floating Garden"
by Bill Lankford--2005
"Japanese Family Farmhouse"
by Shoichi Uchiyama--1992
Traditional family farmhouse from the countryside north of Tokyo. As of 1994 only three full-scale houses of this type were still in existence.
Pat Ariel --1995
(The pots are actually made out of copper.)
Christmas scenes galore....
...even under the floor.
"MY, MY WHAT DESPAIR--
HOW WILL MY GARDEN GROW?"
Ed Mabe and Eve Mabe--2002
"The Potter's Studio"
by Craig T. Roberts
(This photo is for my sister, Mary who makes pottery. I was fascinated that some of those pots are no bigger than a kernel of corn. )
THE HISTORY GALLERY
"Time of the Pharaohs"
by Elaine Cannon--1950s
A collection of 52 miniature dolls in their individual glass domes. Each doll is formed from a grain of wheat, with painted features, sculpted hair, and a body and limbs of wire wrapped with thread. Costumes are Swiss silk with dried plant accessories.
A masterpiece of miniature art reproduces exactly its life-sized counterpart, down to the smallest nail or stitch. Textiles require special care as ordinary threads and stitching often look out of scale when used in a miniature.
Miniature rugs that reproduce the patterns and textures of fine woven carpets are especially challenging. Needlepoint in which threads are stitched into a background fabric mesh, employ a count (number of stitches per inch) of 30 to 40 per inch in order to achieve a realistic effect.
Many of the same type tools were used to create the miniatures that were replicas of the full-sized objects. However--miniature art requires miniature tools.
"Yellow Rose of Texas"
by Brooke Tucker --1983-1985
The theme of Ms Tucker's house is "Wedding Day". Note the table, full of gifts.
Brooke Tucker's miniatures convey a flair for elegant theatricality.
Her mother was a glamorous showgirl, her father was the actor, Forrest Tucker, and her grandfather, Stanford Jolley, played villains in dozens of westerns and B movies.
Please note the lights are lit, the cat in the chair, the dog under the bench on the left and dozens of other features. Every single display took me many minutes to absorb in all its detail.
The Rolls Royce was waiting to whisk the bride away to the chapel.
"A Gentleman's Space"
by Ray Whitledge--1995
Note the moose head on the wall and the dog in front of the fireplace.
"The Boatbuilder's Study"
"A Tribute to Erte"
by Brooke Tucker
The Erte tribute was amazing, with all the glass, the chandeliers, and the 30's art deco.
"THE GREAT HALL"
by Peter Westcott
Contains reproductions of features from historic manor houses in Derbyshire and Essex, England. The portraits are painted by Joan Hairrel.
(The paintings looked so real though no bigger than a thumbnail)
by Charlotte Schoenback--2006
A 14 room Rococo chateau, with furnishings inspired by European palaces. The chateau was designed and created over a 30-year period.
I am so sorry my photos do not do these creations justice. The permanent collection is over 300 miniature houses. Just remember, if you ever get to Tucson, don't miss this. I would be happy to go with you.