9 Not-to-Miss Dollhouse & Miniatures Museums
Did you know there are incredible dollhouse and miniatures museums all across America? If not, you're in for something special. Think dozens--or even hundreds!--of exhibits of all things small in one space.
Ready to go but not sure where to start? No worries, because we got you covered. Here are some of the most well-loved dollhouse and miniatures museums in the United States. Enjoy--and if we've left any off that you love, make sure to let us know in the comments below!
The Great American Dollhouse Museum
The name pretty much sums up this emporium of all things dollhouse and miniatures. Located in the heart of Kentucky's bluegrass country, the museum boasts more than 200 dollhouses, miniature buildings, and room boxes. Unlike traditional museum displays, in which each artifact stands isolated in its case, their exhibits are interconnected both physically and chronologically to tell the history of the United States. You'll see scenes from the Old West, Victorian, and modern times, with many other eras in between. With a perfect five star TripAdvisor rating, this is not one to miss if you love miniatures.
The Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections Inc.
Since it opened its doors in 1983, this delightful museum has welcomed more than 85,000 visitors. Its exhibits, which change quarterly, feature an array of rare miniatures. This is a great place to bring kids--the museum is tailored for young ones, who comprise one quarter of all visitors. Check their website often to learn about featured exhibits and guest speakers.
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
Kansas City, Missouri
This incredible museum is located in an expansive 33,000 square foot building on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. It houses the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection and one of the nation’s largest antique toy collections open to public display. Inside, you'll find more than 72,000 items, including 21,000 miniatures from virtually every well-known contemporary miniature artists. Louis XV's Versailles study, a Boston Beacon Hill mansion, an Italian Renaissance studio--this and so much more await you inside this one-of-a-kind museum.
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys
You'll find more than 20,000 miniatures, toys, and dolls inside this museum, which recently moved from Denver to a new location in nearby Lakewood. One of the best times to visit is during their fall show. In addition to having lots of minis for sale, they also hold many different seminars and workshops. Check their website often to learn about events held all year long.
The Mini Time Machine
You'll step into a world of magic when you step into this museum that houses more than 400 antique and contemporary dollhouses and room boxes. It calls itself a time machine because visitors are transported through history with the history and stories each piece conveys. This is a great place to bring miniature people--the Mini Time Machine has a Kids Create Family Fun Program that lets kids create their very own miniatures. They also host a literacy program for pre-school aged children.
Thorne Miniature Rooms, Art Institute of Chicago
If you're visiting the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, make sure to visit the 68 Thorne Miniatures Rooms. Eahc one features painstakingly detailed European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s. You'll also glimpse American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. This impressive collection was donated by miniature artist Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Master craftsman constructed each piece between 1932 and 1940 to her exact specifications.
Midwest Miniatures Museum
Hickory Corners, Michigan
This gem of a museum is located in a picturesque white farmhouse smack in the middle between Detroit and Chicago. Though it only opened in 2006, it boasts works from hundreds of miniature artisans. Standout exhibits include a toymakers room, a Noah's Ark Gallery, and a whimsical tree abode. Midwest Miniatures is on the same campus as the Gilmore Car Museum, a top Michigan attraction with nearly 400 history vehicles on display.
Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection
A single women's lifelong collection of rare and historically accurate miniatures are on exquisite display at a 3,300 square foot gallery within the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center. Among the standouts are miniature replicas of a church, theater, and drug store native to the town of Maysville, Kentucky. But the real crown jewel--in a literal sense--is a miniature Spencer House, the stunning home where Princess Diana grew up and is now laid to rest. An international team of craftsmen and women worked together to create hand-carved ceilings painted in gold gilt, handmade carpets made on real looms, hand-painted marble detailing, miniature portraits of the family, real sterling silver flatware--heck, you'll even see the family's "S" emblem all around the house. Whet your appetite for this gem by watching this video on the making of miniature Spencer House.
Within this 4,000 square foot space, you'll find dollhouses and miniatures along with Tinkertoys, railroads, airplanes, and lots of other vintage toys. Definitely check out the rotating exhibits—recent ones include the largest known Shirley Temple doll collection, a Schoenhut Humpty-Dumpty Circus, and Schoenhut doll collection.
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