Skip to content

Miniature rooms make me happy

November 18, 2013

miniature roomI’ve always liked miniature houses, miniature furniture and miniature toys. In fact, I enjoyed building a few miniature rooms as a child. So I was delighted to view the 68 miniature rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibit. And I am glad someone besides me cleans the rooms with cotton swabs and delicate tweezers. 

Artist Narcissa Niblack Thorne designed the rooms. It was helpful that she was the wife of James Ward Thorne Thomas, an heir to the Montgomery Ward department store fortune, and had plenty of money for her hobby. Plus she did not have to clean real rooms or cook her family’s meals or do the laundry. She had time for hobbies.

Mrs. Thorne hired master craftsmen from 1932 to 1940 to construct the rooms on a scale of one inch to one foot. The rooms feature European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American interiors from the 17th century to the 1930s. (I’m trying to imagine some big carpenter explaining that he builds miniature French salons and such for a living.)

I’m not the only one enthralled by these exquisite teeny rooms. It was fun to see males and females of every size, age and description with their faces pressed against the glass at each room, checking out the details of the room and looking through the windows of the room to the detail in adjoining rooms or the landscape. Maybe they were imagining themselves there.

Author Marianna Malone, who visited the rooms from strollerhood through adulthood, is writing a series of children’s books about a couple of girls who shrink and go into the rooms… and into some dramatic situations in history. Why don’t I think of ventures like that?

I’m thinking building miniature rooms would be a fun hobby for this non-rich gal. But I might have to use the same materials I used as a child–banana boxes, old sweaters for carpeting and magazine pictures for artwork. Hmmm. Hubby has that nice sweater from Austria that he never wears because it has a gaping, irreconcilable hole in it. Wouldn’t it make lovely carpeting?



One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary V permalink
    January 15, 2014 7:37 am

    I visited the Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibit too many years ago to say. But I STILL remember it! It’s a lovely exhibit. I recommend it to people of all ages.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: