A few weeks ago, while visiting friends in Kansas City, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.
Did you know that there’s a national museum of toys and miniatures? And did you know it’s in Kansas City? Even though many people consider Kansas a fly-over state, I just want you to know that we have some Real Happenin’ Things out here!
This museum is one of them. It’s a gem. I could spend hours and hours on the first floor, which houses the Most Spectacular collection of miniatures. These tiny little works of art are enchanting and mesmerizing.
Needlework figures into these miniature worlds in numerous ways, so I thought I’d share some quick snaps with you, to whet your appetite for more and encourage you to visit the museum if you’re ever out this way.
Upon entering the miniature section of the museum, I was met with this charming little scene featuring a regular-sized chair and table. On the wall is a regular-sized sampler.
In the box mounted on the side of the display, there’s a miniature version of the very same scene…
…replete with sampler. And from that point, I was hooked.
Throughout many of the small displays set into the walls of the galleries, you’ll find rooms that are adorned with exquisite furnishings. Many rugs, chairs, and wall tapestries are all made from meticulously tiny stitching.
There are also little display rooms that focus almost entirely on the world of needlework – quilting, crochet, knitting, embroidery, lace-making – they’re all represented in some way or another.
Here, a lacemaker sits at her pillow loaded with minuscule bobbins, ready to move.
A quilt on a frame – a crazy quilt on the wall. And a little tool box sitting on the quilt on the frame.
Check out this tiny needlework box and the chicken spool holder. Oh. My. Word. The thread keep in the box? That entire box was the size of the tip of my finger.
I would like this chair, full size. I love the fact that it looks like it’s been sat upon!
Here we have a needlework frame, laced with work in progress.
Oh, this lovely accent chair!
A tiny 17th-century-ish bed, replete with embroidered bed cover.
And the bed cover up close, with its fine lace edge, too.
Around every corner in the miniature section of the museum, there is something new that delights the eye and boggles the mind.
But for me, I think this piece was the most captivating:
A miniature 17th century embroidered casket and mirror frame! And by miniature, I mean miniature. This treasure surely isn’t even an inch high.
It’s fabulous in all its detail!
And the display is wonderful, because you can rotate the whole scene in order to see the casket front and back. Holy cow. Can you imagine?
There’s much, much more to see in the miniature worlds at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City.
If you get a chance, allow yourself at least a couple hours just for the miniature area – and more, if you’re really into miniatures. If you have interest in the history of toys in general, you can also meander upstairs to the regular-sized toy gallery, where you can follow the history of the development of toys and games in America.
The upstairs didn’t capture me like the downstairs did. There’s a plethora of plastic upstairs that lacks any aesthetic appeal – but it admittedly has nostalgic appeal!
I hope that this brief field trip gave you a tiny bit pleasure. I can’t wait to go back to the museum one of these days, when I can spend more time there soaking in the wonders of these tiny works of art.
It’s well worth the trip!