Kansas City’s National Museum Of Toys And Miniatures Celebrates The World’s Smallest Artworks

Tiny works by 68 artists from around the world, on display this weekend at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, can help us understand “what defines us as humans,” according to the museum’s director.

To host this special exhibit celebrating all things small, the museum partnered with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans for a juried showcase of fine-scale miniatures.

More than half of the artists selected for the juried showcase have works in the museum’s permanent collection, a result of efforts by museum co-founder Barbara Marshall, who began purchasing minute furniture, animals and architectural objects in the 1950s. Today it is the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures.

“When she commissioned work she asked (the artists) to make their dream work. So it wasn’t about what she wanted, it was about furthering the art form,” says Laura Taylor, the museum’s curator of interpretation. “The show is really about honoring Barbara Marshall and the special relationship she had with the artists.”

Seeing the collection with fresh eyes is Petra Kralickova, the museum’s new executive director, who has been in Kansas City since mid-July after coming from the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“Our audience can learn so much about history, so much about art, so much about architecture, science, and our own common experiences,” Kralickova says, “as well as the physical things that we collect and we have and what defines us as humans.”

For the price of a regular admission, museum visitors can also meet many of the miniature artists in town for the exhibit, some of whom are giving gallery talks about their work.

One of those artists is Althea Crome, a small-scale knitting artist from Bloomington, Indiana, who created a special piece for the show: a tiny Christmas sweater based on a medieval triptych in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With more than 70 different colors, the Nativity scene has…

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