Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis

A Special Report
By Fay Zerb

I have been asked by Joanna Slan to write a little something about our miniature museum (the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis). This group was started in 1989 because a group of ladies were concerned about their miniature collection because their kids weren’t interested or didn’t have the space to keep them. The ladies didn’t want their stuff ending up in a yard sale. A lot of people downsize or go into a different living arrangement, and we get their stuff. Most of the things we have came from families once the miniaturist died.

When Owners Die

Several museums have folded once the owner passed away. (Joanna’s note: This, sadly, happened just this year to the entire Delaware Toy & Miniature Museum.) A lot of the museums were started by wealthy people had quite a collection of stuff, and they started their own museum.

How the Building Fund Started...and Plans to Expand

The group started sponsoring local miniature shows in 1991 to make money to buy a building for our museum. We actually bought our building in 2000, renovated the building and opened in 2001 with our first floor open to the public. Since then, our volunteers have been renovating the second floor, and we hope to open that level to the public this year.

The museum still sponsors miniature shows in the spring and fall where dealers from all over the country come to display and sell their miniature creations (dollhouses, roomboxes, dolls, furniture, food, landscaping, and everything imaginable) to the public.

Our museum is run by an all-volunteer board of 15 people. Our general members help staff the museum during our open hours. The museum costs a small fee to enter. If you are interested, you can visit the museum's website: and look at some pieces of our collection, information about the museum, information about the miniature show and much more.

Fay Zerb

Where Will Your Treasures Go When You Are Gone?

Note by Joanna: Fay’s post got me to thinking. What will happen to your hobby when you die? Have you thought of finding a good home for your collection? Does your family know who might enjoy or benefit from your supplies—that stash you haven’t used? Take a moment this week and write a letter of intent. I don’t know how legal it would be, but surely it might help your family make good decisions about your belongings. After all, you can't take it with you.


Camille Minichino said...

Thanks to Joanna, I've already "met" Fay and learned about the wonderful museum.

So glad to have your report, Fay!

I want to hop on a plane this minute, of course. It might take a little longer, but I am determined to come to one of your shows.

Monica Ferris said...

I've been actively looking for a person or place to leave my extensive Fontanini Christmas figure collection to. I tried to interest my church, thinking the Sunday School teachers would be interested, but got no response. No one in my family seems interested in inheriting something over 200 pieces of seven-inch-scale shepherds, kings, musicians, green grocers, bakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, rug weavers and sellers, potters, etc., etc., not to mention the Basic Trio of Mother, Stepfather and Babe. Oh, and, suspended on fishing line above, a "multitude of the heavenly host." Of course, I'm not going anywhere for a long while, I hope.

ellen said...

I gave my musical instruments (mostly Appalachian dulcimers) to good friends who'd appreciate them; two went to a museum, and one is regularly off on tour with a folk musician.

The books I've bound are a different matter. At this point, assorted libraries interested in the subject matter are the best bet.