A few years ago, we visited Chicago. We only had a few days to take in the sights, so we marveled at the architecture and explored the King Tut exhibit, which was on display at the time. I wish I had known about the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. I would have found some way to squeeze in a visit.
According to the Art Institute’s website, these models were brought to life by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and their exhibit consists of 68 miniature rooms, depicting European and American furnishings and decorations in exquisite detail.
Also on the Art Institute’s website is a marvelous interactive game, The Game of Thornes.
To play, visitors wander through a maze of various rooms, exploring the objects within in search of clues that will lead to the exit, where a lovely surprise awaits intrepid travelers who solve the puzzle and reach the end. Not quite as exciting as an in-person visit, I imagine, but just as intriguing for the chance to explore these marvelous, miniature rooms, if only from a distance.
If you have a few minutes, give the game a try. It’s challenging and fun.
Another collection of these magnificent rooms can be found at the Knoxville Museum of Art. I hope you’ll visit the Knoxville Museum’s website, as they have a nice summation of how and why Mrs. Thorne created these rooms. They also have a wonderful Flickr slideshow, showcasing their collection. From there, I learned a third collection resides at the Phoenix Art Museum, which states a total of five museums have the privilege to house these miniature marvels. I could not find links to the other two museums, but will update this post as soon as I do.
As you can see, I am now completely fascinated by these lovely works of art. Now I need to learn more about Mrs. Thorne, a most intriguing woman.
My thanks to @john_overholt on Twitter for bringing this previously unknown-to-me bit of history to my attention. Now I only hope I have a chance to return to Chicago and travel to Knoxville and Phoenix to visit these amazing exhibits and see these beautiful rooms.