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Miniatures are small scale reproductions of just about anything, such as figurines, paintings, etc. However, in the hobby world, miniatures most often refer to miniature dollhouses and dollhouse furniture. They arenít just for children either, in fact, miniatures started out as a plaything for adults.
BR> Doll houses, as we know them today, can be traced back about four hundred years to the "baby houses" of Europe. Baby houses were cabinet display cases made up of rooms. These cabinets were built with architectural details and filled with miniature household items and were solely for adults. They were off-limits to children, not because of safety concerns for the children, but for the dollhouse. These miniatures were so-called trophy collections owned by a few living in the cities of Holland, England and Germany who were wealthy enough to afford them, and, fully furnished, were worth the price of a modest full-size house's construction. However, miniatures actually date back even much further than this. The earliest known examples were found in the Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom, created nearly five thousand years ago. These were almost certainly were made for religious purposes. Early European dollhouses were constructed on a custom basis by individual craftsmen. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, factories began mass producing dollhouses and miniatures suitable for furnishing them. By the 1950s, the typical dollhouse sold commercially was painted sheet metal filled with plastic furniture. The cost of these houses was low enough to allow the great majority of young girls to own a dollhouse.

How does one start a miniature doll house collection? There is a wide variety of styles, price range and materials. The best way to begin is to narrow your focus.

Choose a Time Period or Theme:
Victorian and Federal/Georgian are very popular periods, but other periods are available as well. You many also choose to build your collection around a particular passion or tell a story using your miniatures.

Choose the Scale and Space Needed: A collection of miniature shoes or miniature paintings can go in a small showcase or display box. A collection of miniature furniture will need a doll house. You may even decide to create an entire miniature village. If you donít want to tell a story or create a scene with your miniatures, then a showcased collection may work best.

Plan and Determine the Displayís Main Focus:
Decide what kind of atmosphere you want in your doll house. Do you want a calm, peaceful feeling or something more exciting and bright? Is your doll house a grand Victorian or a simple farmhouse with pine tables and crockery?

Begin to Select Pieces:
This is considered by many to be the most fun and includes choosing furniture, rugs, lighting, maybe even figurines.

Whether a full dollhouse or separate pieces, collecting miniatures is a fascinating hobby that can provide hours of enjoyment for old and young alike.


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