The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, AZ, was doing the #tinyhouse thing long before it became a hashtag. Patricia and Walter Arnell opened the museum in 2009; today, it includes some 300 miniature houses and room boxes, including Texas mansions, Shanghai garden estates, Japanese farmhouses, German grocery stores, and Danish antique shops.
Never mind what you think of dollhouses and the quirky septuagenarians who collect them. The details in these pieces are astonishingly realistic. Elegant parlors are decorated with infinitesimal tapestries, glittering chandeliers, and hand-carved moldings. One of the English homes, dating to 1775, includes a complete printed set of Shakespeare’s works in its library. The books are the size of a postage stamp and you need a magnifying glass to read the text. Another house, from 1909, is equipped with running water.
But look closer and you’ll realize things aren’t always as they seem: Rugs are cut from brocade purses. Rose bushes are planted in coffee grounds. This is the joy of the tiny house—seeing the creative ways that miniaturists shrink the world to a 1/12th scale. Don’t miss the museum’s holographic video introduction and non-house draws, including Kewpie dolls, chrome dragons, and a hulking fairytale tree with mouse castles burrowed inside its trunk. Admission is $9.
4455 E. Camp Lowell Dr., Tucson, AZ; 520-881-0606.