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The Mini Time Machine http://www.theminitimemachine.org Fri, 22 May 2015 21:22:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.5 The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures to Participate in Blue Star Museums 2015 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-time-machine-museum-of-miniatures-to-participate-in-blue-star-museums-2015/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-time-machine-museum-of-miniatures-to-participate-in-blue-star-museums-2015/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:29:04 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8202 Continue Reading]]> The Mini Time Machine is a Blue Star Museum

Tucson, AZ – May 22, 2105 – Today The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2015. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move.

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures will offer free admission to active-duty military and up to five family members for general admission during museum hours between May 23, 2015 and September 6, 2015.

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. For questions on particular exhibits, please contact the museum directly.

Find other museums and get answers to FAQs >>


Media Inquiries, please contact:
Gentry SpronkenDirector of Marketing and Communications
520-881-0606 ext. 104 or by email


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Minis Magnified Issue No. 59 The 1/144 Scale Buildings of Pat Russo http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-59-the-1144-scale-buildings-of-pat-russo/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-59-the-1144-scale-buildings-of-pat-russo/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 22:39:13 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8163 Continue Reading]]> Pat Russo 144 Scale House

With regard to dollhouses, the use of a standardized scale is a relatively modern idea. Although the concept of dollhouses have been around for a few centuries, it was not until the 20th century that standardized scales began to slowly take root, due largely to the toy
industry. The popularity of 1/12 scale – now considered the standard scale for dolls’ houses – began to take hold initially thanks to the international fame of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, a monumental feat of the 1920s, which included perfectly scaled and
functional miniaturized replica furnishings from Windsor Castle. However, we can give thanks to adult hobbyists and the resurgence of dollhouse popularity in the 1970s for the ability to find uniformly scaled dollhouse miniatures today, making it easier than at any other time in history to find furnishings that can suit any aficionado’s tastes. From this tidal wave of revived enthusiasm other scales came to find their own devoted following including 1/144 scale, where one inch equals 144 inches in miniature.

Mathematically, this scale is the square root of 1/12 scale and is the ideal scale for a dollhouse within a dollhouse. Masters of this scale are immensely popular, allowing collectors such as our own Museum Founder, Pat Arnell, to display a passion for fine scale miniatures on multiple levels – truly creating worlds within worlds. Continue reading a pdf of this article >>

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How To Make a Mini Drink Dispenser http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-mini-drink-dispenser/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-mini-drink-dispenser/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 22:31:43 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8159 How To Mini Drink Dispenser web

Learn how to make this miniature drink dispenser out of easy to find items. Perfect for your 1:12 scale summer parties!

Download the instructions >>

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Minis Magnified Issue No. 58 A Gallery Tribute to Walter Arnell http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-58-a-gallery-tribute-to-walter-arnell/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-58-a-gallery-tribute-to-walter-arnell/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:53:30 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8088 Continue Reading]]> Minis Magnified Tribute to Walter Arnell

Although Walter Arnell wasn’t a miniature artisan himself, he encouraged his wife, Pat’s interest and always supported her in her hobby. As Pat’s collection grew he helped design appropriate lighting for viewing the pieces in their home. Walter was very involved with the building of the museum and documented it’s progress as well as miniatures in the collection on film. Pat’s enthusiasm for miniatures even rubbed off on him. This is a guide to several miniatures in our collection that have special relevance to this great man. Continue reading a pdf of this article >>




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The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures Co-Founder Walter J. Arnell Passed Away at Ninety-One http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-time-machine-museum-of-miniatures-co-founder-walter-j-arnell-passed-away-at-ninety-one/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-time-machine-museum-of-miniatures-co-founder-walter-j-arnell-passed-away-at-ninety-one/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 22:30:50 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8076 Continue Reading]]> Walter J Arnell

It is with great sadness that The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures announces thepassing of co-founder Walter J. Arnell on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife and museum founder, Patricia C. Arnell, as well as two daughters and four grandchildren.

Dr. Arnell had a rich and interesting life as a pilot, engineer, academic and filmmaker. Born British, he experienced World War II as an apprentice at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in England and later flew diving test flights of the renowned Spitfire to perfect instrumentation by predicting the point of no return. A taste of California while in service with the Merchant Marines led him to later return to southern California where he met his wife. He went on to get a doctorate in Engineering Psychology from University College London and returned again to the United States to take the position of Professor of Engineering at USC. When Cal State Long Beach started, he was invited to join the Engineering Faculty and was appointed its Dean.

The couple and their children later moved to Hawaii, where Arnell helped to define a groundbreaking research program in the engineering field, sustainability. There, the couple’s beachfront house attracted the attention of the producers of Hawaii Five-O, and a number of episodes were filmed at their home. It was then that Arnell became interested in filmmaking. Over the years, he took up filmmaking and editing as a serious avocation. He went on to make, and sell commercially, films on a wide variety of topics, which led to many adventures from the Arctic to the Antarctic and several awards.

When the Arnells moved to Tucson in the late 1970s, he became affiliated with the University of Arizona’s Systems & Industrial Engineering Department, where he was instrumental in developing the department’s experimental, but very successful, masters degree program for students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-technical field.

It was during this time that Mrs. Arnell became heavily involved with creating and collecting miniatures. Her interest led to travels around the world and participation in national organizations such as NAME (the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts). Dr. Arnell accompanied her on these trips and became involved himself, serving in several positions on the Board of Trustees for NAME.

By 2005 Mrs. Arnell’s collection had become so extensive that she dreamed of a way to share it with others. Dr. Arnell was very involved in turning this dream into a reality. The couple selected an architect and exhibit designers to bring their vision to life. The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures was established as a nonprofit 501(c)3 and opened its doors to the public on September 1, 2009.

A private service was held and the museum will mount an exhibit of aircraft and other conveyances in his memory, slated to open in the fall of 2016.


Media Inquiries Contact:
Gentry Spronken, Director of Marketing & Communications at 520-881-0606 ext. 104 or by email


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How To Make a Small Slinky http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-small-slinky/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-small-slinky/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:15:05 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8069 How To Make a Miniature Slinky

Learn how to make a miniature slinky and box in this tutorial brought to you by The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

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The Mini Museum Announces Free Event for People with Autism and Their Families http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-museum-announces-free-event-for-people-with-autism-and-their-families/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/press/the-mini-museum-announces-free-event-for-people-with-autism-and-their-families/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:37:03 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=8056 Continue Reading]]> Tucson, Ariz—March 31, 2015- The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures will host an exclusive event for people with autism and their families called My Time at The Mini on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 2pm-4pm.

This private event will provide a museum experience that is comfortable, protected and accepting, while allowing guests to connect with other families. Admission is free to pre-registered guests.

My Time at The Mini will include access to the museum’s galleries with modification to the light and sound effects. Hands-on encounters with miniatures and a miniature craft activity will also be available for those who would like a tactile experience.

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control estimated 1 in 68 children nationally are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, making it the most prevalent childhood developmental disorder in the U.S. (CDC 2014). My Time at The Mini was inspired by similar programs at other museums around the country.

“Families affected by autism have indicated they wished there was a time and place just for them, and this is what we hope to provide.” says Mini Time Machine Director of Education, Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb.

For more information about this event or to register, please visit www.theminitimemachine.org/my-time

For information about the museum’s other accessibility programs and resources, please visit www.theminitimemachine.org/accessibility

Media Inquiries Contact:
Gentry Spronken, Director of Marketing & Communications at 520-881-0606 ext. 104 or by email


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Minis Magnified Issue no. 57 Sue Ann “LadyBug” Thwaite http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-57-sue-ladybug-thwaite/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-57-sue-ladybug-thwaite/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:18:52 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=7960 Continue Reading]]> Fairy by Sue Thwaite

Fairy by Sue Thwaite, photo by Amy Haskell


When visitors come to our museum, they may find themselves astonished by the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans, or swept up in the romance of the love-worn antiques, or simply intrigued by the ancient history of humanity’s fascination with miniatures. But there is something else at play within our walls – an inescapable feeling of nostalgia, a persistent tingle of fond childhood memories that trigger unexpected pleasure. This is a place that can make a person feel like a kid again, that proverbial state of mind of the blissfully young at heart. The world of miniatures by its very design allows us to look at the world through the fresh eyes of wonder. Our Museum Founder, Pat Arnell, is known to tell curious museum-goers that she’s “just a kid who never grew up,” always spoken with a little grin. The Museum is filled with her playful touches, the most beloved of all being our mascot, the fairy Caitlin, who hides throughout the galleries in her many disguises. Pat loves fairies and the rich traditions of fairy lore, making it no surprise that she was drawn to the work of Sue Ann “LadyBug” Thwaite.

Sue Ann Thwaite, known professionally as LadyBug, is regarded as a kind and fanciful spirit in the miniature world. Her miniature scenes and creatures are born from the realms of imagination, deeply rooted in a love for nature and the joyous mischief of fairy folk. In her article, “The Lady Bug Spell,” Marta Bender writes of how Thwaite works primarily with found objects from her environment, assembling buildings just as she did as a young girl during her summers in the Appalachian mountains.1 Thwaite tells Bender of how her “Pap didn’t believe in store-bought toys…he believed that you lived off the land. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, he’d give us a box of toothpicks that we’d use to make log cabins. We would walk along a path and pick up sticks and leaves. When our hands got too full, we’d stop and build little fairy houses.”2 This sort of creative process comes very easily to children, which is why Thwaite has such a wonderful rapport with the children who stop by her booth or attend one of her workshops. Continue reading a pdf of this article >>

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How To Make A Mini Modern Wall Clock http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-mini-modern-wall-clock/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/how-tos/how-to-make-a-mini-modern-wall-clock/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 13:20:26 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=7950 How To Mini Modern Wall Clock

Learn how to make this adorable miniature modern wall clock in this month’s tutorial brought to you by The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

Download the instructions >>


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Minis Magnified Issue no. 56 The Painted Bronze Miniatures of Robert Olszewski http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-56-the-painted-bronze-miniatures-of-robert-olszewski/ http://www.theminitimemachine.org/minis-magnified/minis-magnified-issue-no-56-the-painted-bronze-miniatures-of-robert-olszewski/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 20:03:53 +0000 http://www.theminitimemachine.org/?p=7398 Continue Reading]]> The Grand Entrance by Robert Olszewski

February always ushers in a sentimental air, and visitors may find their gaze lingering on the softer details of our collection. Wandering the galleries with an appreciation for an artist’s hints of tenderness leads to countless joyful surprises: the capricious sweetness of children’s bedrooms, the feminine warmth of delicately stitched gowns, or the fragile petals of flowers lighter than a blade of grass. These singular elements contribute to the overall atmosphere of a finished piece and enhance the visitor’s understanding of the artist’s intentions. In this sense, even the smallest details of a work can become critically influential, no matter how subtle they might appear. The painted miniature bronzes of Robert Olszewski have been subtly shaping our visitor’s experience like a silent army, a multitude of diminutive works tucked into all corners of our collection. More than 60 of
Olszewski’s works can be found in our galleries, housed in just under 20 roomboxes and dollhouses.

The great quantity of his work can be traced to our Museum Founder, Pat Arnell. A collector at heart, it is no surprise that Pat has created a miniature world of fellow enthusiasts – her love affair with Olszewski’s small-scale pieces has produced small homes run by his would-be collectors. His statuary adorn bookshelves and fireplace mantles, bedside tables, desks, and credenzas. Once you have learned to recognize his work, you can readily spot them. Click here to continue reading a pdf of this article >>


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