A Magical Museum of Hyperreal Miniatures

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design
A Magical Museum of Hyperreal Miniatures


The next time I’m in Lyon, France (OK, I’ve never been to Lyon or France, but when I do…), I’m going to plan a visit to the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. Here you will find a temple dedicated to the art of movie miniatures and props. The over 100 staggeringly life-like and highly detailed miniature scenes were almost all created by museum curator Dan Ohlmann.

Over the years, Dan has lovingly crafted famous facades, interiors, scenes from films, and historical imaginings using all of the tricks of the practical effects modeler’s trade. It’s fun to go through the gallery below and try to identify them.


The museum also features hundreds of movie props and costumes. There are also rooms dedicated to the various arts employed in miniatures and movie-making models:

From cabinetmaking to stringed instrument making, and from silversmith’s trade to leather craft, the varied skills of artists from all over the world are highlighted in a 1,000-piece collection. Magnifying glasses allow visitors to study the intricate details of these exquisite creations.

There’s even a space called the Salle des Performances (Performance Room) dedicated to the most extreme, patience-trying miniature arts, like match head sculptures, complex origami, micro papercraft, and eggshell sculpting. This entire building is basically an ode to one man’s lifelong obsessions that has been opened to the public.


And lest you think that Ohlmann’s miniature-making artistry only looks to realizing visions of the past, above is one of his amazing sci-fi spaceship models. Anyone remember what movie this ship is from?

For additional information on the museum and to see additional photos of exhibits you will find there, visit the museum’s website.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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