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Monday, July 21, 2014

Miniature Museum of St Louis

I was finally able to visit the Miniature Museum in St Louis, and I didn't even have to drive to it! Fay Zerbolio made all the arrangements and Becky Niethammer was our "chauffeur".

The museum was a good 45 minute drive or more from the airport hotel, and I would have gotten lost for sure without the aid of GPS, so I was so glad I didn't have to drive and find it.

The museum is located in an older part of town right across the street from the Windmill. Yes, you read right--there is a windmill building right across the street from the museum. The "windmill" used to be a restaurant but they went bankrupt and had to shut down. The city took over and sold it to some corporate entity for a $1 and who plans to refurbish and restore the "windmill" to its former glory.

This area of the city is where Anheuser-Busch used to have a factory and they built small houses right up against each other (non-existent side yards) for their factory workers. However, almost all the houses are brick, so they are probably 100 yrs old and still inhabited by people. Brick must be plentiful and cheap in St Louis, because there are lots of brick houses that we drove past.

We drove past the huge gardens belonging to Anheuser-Busch, now owned by some European company, and even some land owned by Ulysses S. Grant. I never knew US Grant even lived in Missouri--I always associated Missouri with Harry Truman and Mark Twain.

Anyway, what follows are selected pictures of the collection at the Miniature Museum of St Louis. They are liberal with the picture taking policy and they gave me permission to have the pictures on my blog.

These are not the greatest pictures, because everything was under glass cover. If you go, look for the red push button below or to the side of the display case to turn on the light for each display box.

 This was one of the nicer roomboxes and not overly decorated.



 These are really TINY little dolls 1 inch or under. The detail is remarkable for such a small size.


 Tiny little glass figurines. 

 A collection of micro mini roomboxes and houses








 A collection of plastic dolls from Germany. Sorry picture is so blurry


 I am fascinated by roomboxes featuring toys and dollhouses (multiple scales within one vignette)


 A cafe roombox. The pictures don't do justice to the detail and quality because of the display cover.


 Mary Engelbreit (ME) is very popular because she lives in Missouri. This quarter scale house uses an ME book cover for the roof and illustrations from the book pages to decorate the exterior.


 A garden shop roombox and vignette from a gift bag


 I liked how they displayed all the cards right on the sales counter instead of putting them in boxes.


 A nice way to display contents of quarter scale rooms and only the exterior of the house and protected by conventional picture frame.


 These are really cute miniature teddy bears in many sizes and the picture doesn't do them justice.


 Remember these tin dollhouses from your childhood?



 There are several mid-century tin dollhouses at the museum, on the 1st & 2nd floor.





 This is actually a half scale Victorian dollhouse in purple inspired by those famous ones on Nob Hill, San Francisco, California. It's pretty big, though.


 This is a terrible picture, but I love small porcelain figurines


 These dolls are smaller than they look, but you can't tell because there's nothing to give you perspective on the size like a ruler or quarter.


 Who doesn't love Raggedy Ann and Andy?




 A collection of Gudgel Houses (144 scale)


 I liked how the creator HUNG the teacup onto an egg holder instead of gluing to the saucer. Something to consider the next time you do a teacup vignette. I think this was donated by Barbara Ann Meyer.


A collection of porcelain dollhouse miniature furniture


This is really exquisite. The antique shop window is in a pocket watch that is about 1-1/2" diameter. Pull out your ruler to imagine how small it is and you really appreciate how Sandra Manring was able to find suitable items appropriate to the scale.


I love this porcelain dining room set donated by William Cambron. It's slightly bigger than 1" scale .


A flower shop roombox to inspire you.


Petit point rugs donated by the late Judith Ohanian.



Shaker Paper (doll)House by Evaline Ness. I have never seen this book before online, so I took pictures of all four rooms included in the book.






I like how the greeting cards are displayed and opened up on the table.


A general store roombox


This reminds me so much of American homes in the 1970s-1980s


The next 4 pictures are of the Bon Marche--see placard for details.







Roombox created from Brooke Tucker class


Roombox created from Brooke Tucker class


OK, this is very plastic-y, but it has all the elements of a 1950s diner and the charm that comes with that time period.



Does your miniature workshop room look like this?


A genuine 1" scale Mary Engelbreit dollhouse


Inside the Mary Engelbreit house


I found this collection interesting--a set of dollhouse miniature furniture from Hummel. There are intricate engravings on the furniture which I could not photograph adequately.


More tin dollhouses


The decor is a reflection of their times







Miniature silver pieces. It's in a small display case on the right hand side as you enter the museum on the 1st floor. Look for it--they are exquisite pieces.





The museum collection is located on two floors. Don't forget to check out the bathroom, because they ran out of room and put miniatures in there as well!

There's an ecletic mix of miniatures from the sublime to the "ordinary" (but no longer available unless you stumble on them in flea markets, antique shops or ebay) from a bygone era.

I wish more of the collection had placards to explain the significance (history, the artisan's credentials, uniqueness or rarity) of the items on display. 

If you decide to go, call ahead and ask where you should park. Our "chauffeur" parked in the back of the building, but I couldn't see a parking lot allotted to the museum.  The museum is closed on Monday AND Tuesday. 

There is a small gift shop where you can purchase various miniature items from furniture to supplies for making miniatures, and out-of-print miniature books and magazines. You never know what "treasure" you could stumble on when you visit.