Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures – Tucson, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Miniature art that tells an enormous story. 


The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures transports visitors through space, time and imagination, through the observation of each unique little piece of art.

Each figurine and mini setting has its own special story to tell, and encourages visitors both young and old to use their imaginations. The museum creates a sensory, interactive experience, providing glimpses of history and culture and encounters with fantastical creatures.

The museum is the permanent home of 275 miniature houses, room boxes, artifacts and figurines displayed in three captivating exhibits: the Enchanted Realm, History and Antique Gallery and Exploring the World. The Enchanted Realm shows the observer into an imaginary world, where woodland creatures, snow villages, fairy castles, witches and other mystical artifacts each tell a unique and magical story. The History Gallery represents various time periods and give observers tiny glimpses of history. It also displays how craftsmanship and technique have changed over time. This exhibit includes the oldest miniature house in the United States, crafted in 1775. The Exploring the World exhibit includes pieces from various countries including: the U.K., France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Thailand and Spain. Several times throughout each year, the museum assembles temporary displays featuring a specific point in history, notable miniature artists or miniatures in a particular context of society or culture.

The founders of the museum, Patricia and Walter Arnell, became avid miniature collectors in 1979 when they moved to Tucson, Arizona. They became participating members of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME) and the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA). The Arnells envisioned a way to share their passion of miniature items in a creative, educational, and interactive environment. After two years of architectural planning, exhibit design, and construction, the vision of a mini time machine came to life.The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a non-profit organization. All proceeds go to the maintinance and operation of the museum.  

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