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I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 16 March, 2016

The Miniature Museum of Taiwan


Lin Wee-jen, founder of the Miniature Museum of Taiwan, found on Taiwan Today

The history of dollhouse miniatures has many collectors who wanted to show their treasures to a wider audience than at an occasional social gathering. Some like Narcissa Niblack Thorne chose to endow a permanent exhibition at a suitable museum. Others created their own museum to reach a wider audience. Lin Wen-jen is such a collector.

The Miniature Museum of Taiwan houses the collection of founder Lin Wen-jen. It is privately run and is Asia’s only museum dedicated to miniature artworks. Before retiring as president of Taiwan Fluorescent Lamp Co. Lin traveled extensively on business and got into the habit of shopping for model cars and toy figurines as gifts for children.

Gift Shopping

Gift shopping turned into a costly hobby as he and his wife gradually fell for European dollhouses and American room boxes. He finally set up the museum in 1997 to house his collection. It now stands at around 220 works that rotate in the exhibition hall, nestled in the basement of a commercial.


Spencer House Painted Room – Katherine Savage Browning collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum.

[Sound Familiar? Other than the commercial building, this sounds similar to Kathleen Savage Browning and the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center].

World-Wide Collection

Pieces on display range from a standard one-twelfth scale Buckingham Palace, an 18-century backstreet building in east-end London, an imagined Alice in Wonderland and a real former Russian consulate building in San Francisco.

“The miniature rooms and structures filled with vivid details and characters intrigue visitors,” said Lin. “They spend hours in the museum letting their imaginations free. “The works allow them to have a bird’s-eye view of sociocultural history.”

Rose Mansion

Rose Mansion

Rose Mansion

One of Lin’s favorite works is the “Rose Mansion,” a Victorian-era building Reginald Twigg, an American, reproduced on the standard 1:12 scale from the now-demolished 1885 original in downtown Los Angeles.

“Twigg was studying for his doctorate in the history of architecture; making the model house was part of his dissertation project,” Lin recalled. “Twigg lost support for the project when the sponsoring couple had a car accident, killing the husband and seriously injuring the wife.”

Lin noticed Twigg’s advertisement for a new sponsor in a magazine on miniatures, and decided to help. It took Twigg four and a half years, including time spent on textual research, to build the scale-model mansion from original materials. Completed in 1992, the structure now greets visitors to the museum, standing as grandly as the original Rose Mansion once did. “The work is most significant to me in that I helped a student to go on,” the silver-haired director said.


Buckingham Palace Dining-Room found on Scarlett Tu’s Flickr photostream

Buckingham Palace in 1:12 Scale

The spirit of helpfulness and encouragement permeates the museum. Benches allow children to take a closer and clearer peek into works placed inside glass chambers.

Overseas visitors feel at home, not only because there are English, Japanese and Chinese-language captions to each piece, but also because the lifelike models are replete with accurate cultural details and set in typical local landscapes, reminding people away from home of their origins.

June Tsai, Scarlett Tu & Ileana Ottini

Most os will never have the privilege of walking into this wonderful museum. I am so glad we have access to great photographs on Scarlett Tu’s Filckr photostrem. For more information, read the full article from which this post is adapted in Taiwan Today by June Tsai. And the last stop on this virtual tour the Miniature Museum Of Taiwan is the lovely video (as usual) by Ileana Ottini.


Susan Downing

Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: dollhouses, museums, room boxes

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