Michael's Museum – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Chicago, Illinois

Michael's Museum

A curious collection of miniatures in a quiet corner of the Chicago Children's Museum. 

Michael’s Museum is a whimsical, almost surrealist exhibit of 105 different collections, containing hundreds of thousands of teeny objects ready to inspire curiosity.

Watched over by the miniature Museum Mouse, this “Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures” is a permanent exhibit at the Chicago Children’s Museum. It’s located in a quiet, comfortable setting, akin to an eccentric great aunt’s Victorian living room.

In it, you can view cabinets filled with miniatures, trinkets, oddities, artifacts, antiquities, and collectibles. The collections evoke memories of the past for older visitors; perhaps the memories are of their childhood, or of an item a parent or grandparent displayed with love. Younger visitors wonder at the items’ tiny size. 

The curator, Michael Horvich, has been collecting for his entire life. He remembers as a little boy filling his pockets with various treasures. None of them were alive, like frogs or such, but rather small bits and pieces of things that caught his fancy. 

On the wall of the museum, posted in teeny 8pt font (with magnifying glasses available), you’ll find two of Horvich’s famous quotes: “Everyone collects!” and “It only takes two items to make a collection!”

Know Before You Go

In addition to spending time in Michael's Museum, plan on spending a day playing in the many exhibits of the Children's Museum and experiencing the many things to do and see on Navy Pier including a large variety of places for lunch or dinner. Plenty of parking on Navy Pier.