A miniature Christmas comes to Chicago

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Thorne Rooms get a festive makeover

Like many museums the Art Institute of Chicago doesn't rely solely on the strength of its exhibits to encourage visitors. It lays on various exhibitions and events.  And one of the ways it is enticing people away from the hassle of Christmas shopping this year is to invite them to see some of the tiniest of Christmas decorations…and all done so perfectly that you'd think they were prepared by the fairy at the top of the Christmas tree. It is the magic of miniatures!

The festive decorations can be found in the famous Thorne Rooms where nine of the 68 beautiful miniature period room settings have been exquisitely decorated for Christmas. The 1:12 scale rooms were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications. They enable the viewer to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s.

This year, for the first time, the decorated rooms include a Pennsylvania Dutch (German) room. The collection always brings admiring comments from visitors thanks to their exacting standards of craftsmanship. Several renowned artists from around the world have created pieces for the presentation, including tiny toys from Germany, diminutive delicacies from Italy, and petite plants from South Africa. A Chinese New Year-inspired Thorne Room will join the lineup later in the holiday season. A special presentation of a rarely seen German Rococo Room will also be on display through the holidays.

Contact details:

Visit  http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/thorne

Museum opening hours

10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Thursday

10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday

Museum free to Illinois residents weekdays from January 2 through February 10 and on first and second Wednesdays of every month thereafter.

Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Admission prices

Adults $18.00 Includes all special exhibitions

Children 14 and over, students, and seniors $12.00 Includes all special exhibitions

Chicago residents receive a $2.00 discount with proof of residency

Children under 14 always free

Members always free

City of Chicago residents with Chicago Public Library cards can borrow a "Museum Passport" card from any library branch for free general admission to the nine members of Museums in the Park, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago



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