Another Little Trip

Store front of the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis with some dollhouses

Deep in the heart of South St. Louis is a treasure to behold. Not far from where I grew up and across the street from the iconic Bevo Mill is the “Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis.”

Even though the museum opened in its current location in 2001, I had not yet been there. Imagine my glee when I listed several places for Dan and I to explore, and he agreed to go to the Miniature Museum. I guess he knew how much I would like it.

The Bevo Mill

Besides miniatures, I also really love our travel trailer. So, imagine again my delight when I came upon this display right when entering the museum’s exhibit space. And here I thought I was the only one who thought about making a miniature travel trailer!

Inside of an Airstream travel trailer
Outside of an Airstream trailer

Now the museum houses two floors chock full of exhibits. I cannot even begin to describe the extent of the exhibits at the museum. Rather, I’m just going to show a select few to give you all a taste of all that is there. It’s amazing!

Old Cathedral in St. Louis
Anybody know this landmark?

We were lucky enough to meet Chuck, one of the museum’s volunteers. There is so much to see in the museum, it’s hard to take it all in on one visit. While each exhibit is unique, Chuck pointed out a few of the highlights including two dollhouses from the 1900s and a dollhouse made from resin.

Dollhouse from 1900s
Dollhouse made from Resin

Chuck’s wife, who is a Museum Board member, mentioned to us that the museum was going to be featured in an upcoming segment of “Living St. Louis”, a local program broadcast on PBS. Dan and I watched the six minute segment and were happy the museum received the publicity.

Replica of an historical school room.  There is a boy in the corner with a dunce's hat on.
Photo courtesy of Dan Chambers

However, the segment mentioned the “uncanny valley” where objects are made to look so real, it is creepy. The segment then went on to discuss what the goal is when it comes to miniatures. This last bit of the show’s segment lost me and convinced me the author did not “get” miniatures.

To me, it was like saying, what is the goal of art?

To start with, how about … to create… to inspire … to express … to reflect … to educate … to imagine. Miniatures do all that and more. Miniatures involve construction, design, math (scale) and electrical (lighting.) Miniatures can provide historical perspective. Miniatures can provide humor.

Barbershop.  The guy waiting has long hair and a scraggly beard.
Notice the hair on the guy waiting his turn.

Whether a trip to a miniature museum or a project taken on together, miniatures can provide a shared activity with family and friends.

Outdoor patio with a table and chairs
I need to sit out here and relax for a while.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out “In Miniature” – a book by Simon Garfield which, according to its jacket is “A delightful, entertaining, and illuminating investigation into our peculiar fascination with making things small and what small things tell us about the world at large.”

For those interested, the museum’s website offers pictures of some of its exhibits. You can also click here to see a virtual tour of its first floor exhibits. Use your arrow keys to navigate your tour.

After a couple of hours, Dan and I were ready to refresh ourselves and then get a bite to eat.

Bathroom
Time to Freshen Up
Bakery
Time for a Treat

So, we said our goodbyes to the wonderful staff at the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis, and we were “Gone With the Wind.”

A scene from "Gone With the Wind."

I was glad to visit this museum because frankly my dear readers, working on my dollhouse kitchen kind of took it out of me. The last thing I did was to build a kitchen sink and stove, and it was really hard. Since then, I just haven’t gotten back to it.

On our drive home, Dan asked me if I had gotten any ideas during our visit. I replied that I didn’t so much as get ideas; rather, I found something much more valuable. There in the museum, after I peered into tiny room after tiny room, I found inspiration. And that my dear readers was exactly what I needed.

Large dollhouse with conservatory and double front porches

42 comments

  1. Oh the ideas 💡 for your doll house! I must admit, imagining two tall people visiting a miniature museum gave me a chuckle.😀 Excellent, as always, Betty. Wherever it is you’re writing about you make me want to go there! Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. You are so very kind. And oh my yes, the ideas! I was also impressed with Chuck who knew so much about the history of dollhouses. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun and interesting place to visit! I’m happy you were inspired to carry on with your project, Betty. I completely understand being stalled after something is particularly difficult and/or challenging. Gone With the Wind is my all-time fave book and movie, so, “frankly my dear”, I caught that 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yea! I’m glad you caught it! I was wondering if anyone would. In high school, I read that book and then saw the movie. I loved it. I never could bring myself to watch the sequel though. Hope you have a great Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve read the book twice and have seen the movie more times than I can count. I’m at a point where I know what line is coming next throughout almost the entire movie.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It was really neat. There is so much to take in, I plan to visit again. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the real Bevo Mill to put along side the picture of the Bevo Mill miniature. The museum really is a treasure! Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was fascinating! Who knew you would find inspiration in your own little postage stamp of native soil? I guess the “landmark” will be the subject of a future post and in due time, we will find out. It was fun to look back at your first dollhouse post, and to see indeed, how very creative that project was, especially for a couple of young people. And now here you are, still carrying on that creativity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That museum is really, really great. The dollhouse hobby has been revolutionized by 3-D printing and the various models of the Cricut. Oh the things you can do! It’s a different kind of creativity – very skilled. However, there are others like me, who look at a little plastic ketchup container from McDonalds (or a butter) and think – “kitchen sink!” I hadn’t thought about posting about the landmark, but that’s a really good idea. And it’s close to another destination Dan and I have discussed visiting. Thanks for the idea! Enjoy your Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Betty, I see that I need to make another trip to St. Louis. I have been there many times but never knew this gem existed. Thanks for sharing some of your visit. I can’t wait to see what inspiration you gained from going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The museum is impressive. There was a lot to take in! Chuck, the volunteer working that day, was a font of knowledge. I also really liked the way the dollhouses were lit up. The lobby is a store of dollhouse items. There is also a library where you can browse for free. And there are (old) dollhouse magazines for free. I took one which had an article where someone had created a miniature version of the treasures in King Tut’s tomb.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a friend devoted to her miniatures with an entire room full of the results of her life long work. It has always amazed me what solace this hobby can bring during turbulent times , as it has in my friend’s life, as I feel my blood pressure rising just looking at all he hard work and creativity required.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fascinating place to visit. I’m so sorry I didn’t know about it many years ago when I was visiting the city. And isn’t it amazing what wonderful places we so often discover in our own “backyard” I’m glad you found it, that that you had a chance to visit it, and that it gave you the “jolt” you needed to get back to your own project. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The man waiting for his turn had a really scraggly beard, too. That didn’t show up well in my photo. There was so much to see! Enjoy your Sunday!

      Like

  7. Hi Betty. This was a delightful read and brought back so many memories from my childhood. I loved the pictures you took. The travel trailer reminded me of the 1950’s. When I was in first grade we of course read “Fun With Dick and Jane” and one of the chapters had the family going on a cross country road trip using a small trailer like the miniature in your blog.

    When I was little I had a doll house and my father built me furniture for it. He saw that I had taken little boxes and turned them into furniture. I even hand sewed pillows and made clothing for the little doll people etc. I took a shoe box and turned it into a trailer like the one in the book we were reading about in school. My father got a kick out how I was creating my own miniatures so he made some real miniature furniture for me. When my siblings and I had our own children he had retired and built them a giant doll house filled with furniture he created. Now my sister’s grand daughters are using it.

    There is something quite magical about miniatures. I remember reading about Frances Glessner Lee who created dollhouse style dioramas as a way to solve crimes. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to visit that museum one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful your sister’s granddaughters have with the giant dollhouse your father built! I am sure that is a very treasured keepsake. I have not heard of Frances Glessner Lee, but how interesting he used the dioramas to solve crimes. I read “Fun with Dick and Jane” books, too. But I don’t remember any specific stories. You must have been really intrigued with the family story in the small trailer. The magic of reading!! I am glad my post brought back many good memories for you.

      Like

  8. I am a board member at the museum in St. Louis. I want to thank you for your wonderful review of the museum. Miniatures opens a door to a whole new world, doesn’t it? You will have to make another trip to the museum because I just donated my large dollhouse to the museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you commented! Thank you! I will definitely be making another trip to the museum. There is so much to see, and I would love to see the dollhouse you donated. Like so many others, I have just always loved dollhouses. The Miniature Museum of St. Louis is a wonderful, wonderful treasure!

      Like

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