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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Whether a trip to a miniature museum or a project taken on together, miniatures can provide a shared activity with family and friends.
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.
So, we said our goodbyes to the wonderful staff at the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis, and we were “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.