Mission & History

Our Mission

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to preserving and advancing the art of miniatures.

Our Values

  • Quality
  • Accessibility
  • Stewardship

Museum History

The Mini Time Machine was created from the imagination and dedication of Founders, Patricia and Walter Arnell. Pat’s fondness for miniatures began in the 1930’s, when as a young girl she received her first miniatures- a set of Strombecker wooden dollhouse furniture. It wasn’t until the Arnells moved to Tucson in 1979 that Pat began collecting in earnest. The Arnell’s became very active in the miniature community becoming recognized members and supporters of important organizations such as NAME (National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts) and IGMA (International Guild of Miniature Artisans). The collection grew, and the Arnells dreamed of a way to share it with more people. They envisioned an interactive space where the entertaining and educational aspects of the collection could be enjoyed by everyone- a place that would be enchanting, magical and provide a rich sensory experience.

The concept of “the mini time machine” was born out of the notion that a visitor would be seemingly transported to different eras by the stories and history of the pieces in the collection. The design and building of the museum was a huge collaborative effort. Swaim Associates Architects in Tucson, Arizona was chosen as the architect for the project. The exhibit design was carried out by Claro Creative Studios, a team of designers, gadgeteers and entertainment enthusiasts based out of Glendale, California. Construction of the project spanned nearly two years.

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a 501(c)(3) board-only nonprofit organization, classified as a private foundation with a long term goal of achieving public charity status. All proceeds from every sale, including admission, membership and merchandise go towards funding the museum’s operations.

The museum is dedicated to all who participate in the world of miniatures.

Rotunda After
Patricia and Walter Arnell
Patricia and Walter Arnell, Vegrandis 2012.