Musee des miniatures

The weather was iffy this Saturday and I didn’t want to risk going to a park, so I found this neat little museum I thought the kids would like just a few minutes away. We hadn’t ventured west over the Saône River yet although it is practically our backyard. We walked over the pedestrian bridge and within five minutes we were at the Musee des miniatures & decors de cinema.

The initial plan was to coordinate our museum trip with a movie called “Arrietty, le petit monde des chapardeurs.” This was produced in Japan and is about tiny people, so I thought it would fit right in with our visit to the miniature museum. Unfortunately, the cinema that advertised the film online was no longer showing it. It turns out we wouldn’t have had time to see it anyway- the Miniature Museum took all afternoon! It was that cool.

Don’t think this is anything like one of those goofy, Wisconsin Dells type tourist traps, even if a life sized CP3O greets you at the entry.

C3PO and Sagan

Inside is a glimpse of the life’s work of Dan Ohlmann, the miniaturist. We recognized many famous movie elements and costumes that he’d worked on. It isn’t all about miniature stuff. The kids were fascinated to see how movie magic was made before the age of computer generated everything. Here’s a photo of a mechanized alien head used in the Men In Black film.

MIB alien head

My cheap point and shoot camera doesn’t do any of the displays justice. Here is a web site I found that does a reasonably better job, although I’d argue that these images are still missing half of the original’s amazingness. The textures, the lighting- so much went into making these otherworldly places and things. Sagan could have looked at them for hours.

Miniature Museum

There was a section that was behind a curtain and was labeled with a sign. It was in French so I had Sagan read it for me. It warned that behind it was some disturbing stuff and children should be cautioned. Sagan popped her head in and the first thing she saw was a life-like arm with some, let’s say, serious problems. She quickly jumped back out. Kailas didn’t go within ten feet of the curtain. Speaking of disturbing, a few people have commented that I don’t post photos of myself. It’s because I’m the one taking the photos!

Okay well, here you go.

I look different without my glasses, I think.

My two favorite miniature displays were of an art nouveau dining room and a scientist’s laboratory.

Kailas and Mad Scientist Mini Workshop

I want one of these!

Steam horse

Sagan observed that all of these miniature worlds were set in an earlier time. She commented “I wish I were only five inches tall right now!” It would be fun to walk through them, but instead we were left peering in with our giant selves. Can you tell if this scene is real, or mini:

Street outside museum, NOT miniature

I expect we’ll be visiting this place again, perhaps to take one of the grandmothers since they are both planning a trip to Lyon. Sagan and Kailas approved.

Sagan and Kailas

Video seems to capture more of the “realness” in these miniatures, so here’s something from youtube that I found. You can see the pedestrian bridge we crossed at the beginning, too. The last half of it is an interview with Dan Ohlmann, in French.


About marlashane

Artist. Explorer. Freethinker. Mother of two children.
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