Deck the Tiny Walls

English drawing room from the Victorian period, 1840-1870. (All photos courtesy Art Institute of Chicago).

Many museums have of period rooms in their holdings, but the Art Institute of Chicago also has an impressive collection of 68 miniature period spaces. Rather than treat these dollhouse-sized objects as sacred or static, the museum has decorated six of them for the holidays with historically and culturally appropriate trimmings. The English Victorian drawing room is the only one that includes a Christmas tree. Take a look at some of the rooms and details from Tudor to Modern spaces.

Alongside wood panneled walls and suits of armour, the English Tudor Hall has a wassailing bowl, a yule log, and a mummer’s mask, which was used for during holiday festivities and pantomimes of the era.

The French Provincial Bedroom has shoes in front of the fireplace, a creche, and a puzzle.

The Modern California hallway has a replica of a mid-century Otto Natzler menorah and a box with a dreidel (along with a Picasso?).

The Thorne Miniature Rooms are on view in Gallery 11.

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