Fun for the kids, and perfect for a rainy weekend, the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan offers an entry into the dream world of doll-houses, model replicas, and the expressive art of room boxes.
By Stuart Hill
Whether it is a craft, sport or collection, anyone who’s ever had a hobby will appreciate how obsessive it can become. Only those who do the hobby, really understand the time and dedication that’s required to build it into something really great.
At Taipei’s Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, even without any experience in building model cars, playing with dolls or designing a house, you immediately feel the intense enthusiasm from both the creators and curators just from the quality and detail of the museum pieces on display.
Spanning a number of different styles and miniatures genres, the museum is spread out in the large basement floor of a building on JianGuo North Road, and leads the visitor through a diverse series of displays that ends with your exit into a gift shop where you can also buy the materials you need to get started on creating your own small-scale universe.
The museum’s main focus includes an extensive collection of room boxes, model replicas of famous buildings, and imagined streetscapes or fantasy scenes. The entrance showcases a collection of egg carvings, dolls (including Barbie), and toy robots — which while stretching the definition of miniatures — are also interesting to look at.
Established in 1997, the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan claims to be one of its kind in Asia, and features around 200 different pieces on display. The collection is made up of items bought from a number of countries, including the US, Japan, and various countries in Europe, and illustrates the diversity of the styles, themes, and craftsmanship of its miniaturists.
Most of the artistic works are of high standard, which would justify an update to the exhibition space and a modernization of the curating style, which is both idiosyncratic and fairly basic. Many of the displays are described in Chinese, English and Japanese, although not all, and those that do could benefit from an updating and re-edit. The museum provides a map and introductory brochure in a choice of these three languages.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions (such as the one based on Lego, currently on show), design competitions, and classes to teach people about the art of miniature making.
Information is available on the MMOT.com.tw website, though most of the available information is in Chinese only. There you can review previous temporary exhibitions — such as war game miniatures, robots, bears and more — via a timeline.
The museum is open every day of the week except Mondays (and some public holidays including around Chinese New Year), from 10am to 6pm, and the cost for adults in NT$180 at the time of writing, with discounts for kids, students, pensioners, the disabled, and tour groups.
- Official website of the Miniature Museum (English section not working)
- You can find the museum at B1, 96 JiangGuo North Road, Section 1, Taipei. Phone number: 02-2515-0583
- About room boxes on Wikipedia