Time For Miniatures in Tucson
I admit I geek out on a lot of artsy fartsy stuff, but I love when something can still completely stupefy me such as The Mini Time Machine, Museum of Miniatures on 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. So much is packed into their building currently with seven exhibitions of diminutive home replicas, multi-cultural carvings and both familiar and fantastical mindscapes. For a limited time, a super-badass Addam’s Family mansion by creator Ara Bentley (check her out YouTube) is onsite until November 5, 2023.
No joke, I kept banging my nose and forehead on the glass trying to shrink into each delightful vignette. I must have said, “Holy cow!” and “Oh my goodness!” ad nauseum because I have seen doll houses before, however this collection is certainly not made up of toys. The Phoenix Art Museum has a terrific gallery dedicated to miniatures, but Mini Time Machine is truly transportive, making us captivated time-traveling voyeurs at each window. The format is an obvious passion/obsession for a special group of artisans, designers and their collectors because no detail is spared with to-scale implements of real silver, silk, leather, porcelain and hand painted historic oils in a Georgian mansion or Rococo Parisian penthouse facsimile.
Master miniaturists such as Ray Whitledge-Burgess and Madelyn Cook capture literal microcosms of life at certain moments in history, like Cook’s depiction of an enslaved house servant standing beside the family in an elaborate 18th century Southern estate, a deliberate choice by the artist. Likewise, Stephen Farley’s extensive model of his boyhood hometown of Ontario, CA., was a way for him to deal with family mental health issues as evident in the title of his exhibit Dowdytown: Chapter 3 of the Agoraphobia Trilogy. Definitely part of the bigger MUST SEE until January 28, 2024.
The Mini is big on education and outreach with year ’round classes, tours and many special ways to interact with this unique art form. It has a rich history with a mission to preserve and advance the world of miniatures for all. Imaginative and enthralling for every age, visitors should plan for at least a couple hours to spend at the museum. No food or beverages allowed, but you can bring bottled water. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Always check before you go at theminitimemachine.org, learn more at all their social media outlets.
By the way, if you attend Unusual Little Spaces on October 21 or 22, 10am-5pm, at the Tucson Woman’s Club 6245 E. Bellevue Street, you will receive a free ticket to The Mini Time Machine. The Unusual event is presented by Tucson’s Miniature Society and will have door prizes, raffles, displays and fun kid’s tables available. Stay small, people!
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