So I called my sis and the three of us motored over to the museum located in a white farm house in Hickory Corners, Michigan. It has a separate driveway next to the Gilmore Auto Museum entrance (another fun place to browse, especially for car buffs).
Upon entering there was a small reception area with a gift shop. The hostess that day was Ina Whitney, president of the museum. We have a mutual friend from Ladies' Library, so we had crossed paths a few times recently. It was nice to have someone I knew as our personal tour guide.
Many of the masterpieces here are done by world class miniature artists. Here is Ina next to the Brackenwood Vale by Rik Pierce. This fantasy tree house includes over 3,000 individually placed leaves. Hiding among them are numerous woodland creatures, including a hedgehog family.
This old farm house has numerous rooms with wonderful dollhouse displays in each one. I cannot describe what a gem each little world is, but I'll show you a few favorites.
The displays here are so diverse. This is a set of six rooms that reflect various aspects of the medical field--a pharmacy, a nursery for newborns, doctor's office, etc.
Other scenarios are just a room or simple scenario. Here is a beach scene in a Frisbee, dining room (from the collection of Francis M. Light), and a greenhouse.
Sizes range from one-inch to one-foot being the largest, down to 1/12-inch to one-foot. Here are two examples of the smallest size. The first is a little cottage in a walnut.
Next appears as though you are looking in a shop window with shelves of fine silver products. There was also a display of handmade miniature clothes for dollhouse size people.
Another display is of the Kellogg Manor house. The "original" was owned by the Kellogg family (yes, of cereal fame) and in real life is currently a local venue for teas, meetings, weddings, and other entertainment.
There were numerous period style rooms...all so elegant.
There were businesses. Here is a used car lot (something for the guys), grocery store, vintage marionette / puppet store, and a quilt shop.
There was a small room set up with Noah's Ark arrangements of various scale sizes.
One of my favorites was a replica of the rooming house that Vincent Van Gogh lived in. You can see his tiny bed, paintings, and vases of sunflowers in the upper left room.
At the end of the tour we browsed the small gift shop. Suzi (a redhead), found a little redheaded lady reclined on a chaise lounge. It looked so like her in appearance and in manner, that she just had to buy it (except she is not a cat lover. Bet she took those off!)
I hope I haven't given too much away here, but these examples just scratch the surface of what little jewels you will find. And the photos absolutely do NOT do the vignettes justice is is FREE, but there is a jar for donations. I left a ten-er and still felt the visit was a bargain.
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In San Francisco I worked with Mattie Still, an avid dollhouse enthusiast. She had a huge set-up and would decorate it at each holiday with appropriate tiny items. Christmas was especially beautiful. She took me to a dollhouse convention once and I was flabbergasted at the array and intricacies of all the elements available.
Her husband Bob would create custom items for her. One thing he made was an old-fashioned camera and stand from wood and other materials. It looked totally realistic with the "squeeze box" finder and cloth for over the photographers head. What fun!
Some time later I met Ina at a meeting of the Kalamazoo Certified Tourist Ambassadors. After the meeting I was chatting with the speaker who was from the Pure Michigan ad group. I mentioned the museum. Ina was walking by just then so I introduced them. He said that "Mysteries at the Museum" TV show may do a whole program all about Michigan and maybe Ina could come up with a mystery at the Miniatures Museum segment. What fun! Hope that happens!