The temperature has been skyrocketing here in Tucson, causing a chorus of resigned grumbles from our city’s inhabitants. In the museum lobby, audible sighs of relief can be heard from visitors as they pass through our enormous door. And nevermind our state-of-the-art museum; these days our phone rings with calls from potential visitors whose only concern is whether or not we have air-conditioning. Every summer, when our electric bills are less than miniature, it is easy to wonder how previous generations withstood the heat without our modern conveniences. Tucson is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in North America, with Hohokam Indians farming this land thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish missionaries. Evidence of their ancient culture still remains intact, documenting a way of life that was harmonious with this oftentimes unforgiving landscape. Their resilience is a testament to the human spirit and certainly a point of fascination for future generations.
Preserving the cultures of the past is a duty often falling into the hands of museums and universities which house countless priceless artifacts for study and display. The Mini-Time Machine Museum is no exception, showcasing miniatures from as early as 1742, as well as a multitude of roomboxes featuring historical periods through meticulous reconstruction. Although most folks wouldn’t think of miniature artists as art historians, many modern-day miniaturists could rightfully claim this distinction, dedicating their passion and skill to preserving elements of the past in painstaking detail. One such artist is Shoichi Uchiyami, a Japanese miniaturist who is committed to recapturing the buildings and countryside of Japan’s old-style villages— which, although surviving innumerable generations, have all but disappeared in the last thirty years. Click here to continue to read a pdf of this article >>