December 9

Miniature Rooms Housing Holiday Cheer

Lest you think the Art Institute’s wreath-clad lions are the museum’s only holiday ornaments, Chicago Tribune “Sidewalks” columnist Rick Kogan suggests a visit to the European and American Thorne Miniature Rooms. In an article published on Sunday, November 30, Kogan highlights the AIC’s collection of 68 tiny rooms “built at a scale of 1 inch to 1 foot” and modeling European interiors from the 1500s through the 1930s and American rooms from the 17th century to the 1930s. The Thorne Room is decked out in seasonal swag thanks to SAIC alumna Lindsay Mican Morgan (BFA 1999), who, in lieu of her “lofty job title,” prefers to be called the “keeper of the Thorne Rooms.” For the past two years, Morgan has imbued the collection with holiday cheer, but states she was initially “a bit tentative about stepping on Mrs. Thorne’s toes”—the creator and benefactor of the entire collection. Upon research, however, Morgan discovered that Mrs. Thorne was a true lover of the holidays, often crafting themed miniatures to benefit local charities. "She really seemed to care about Christmas, and that made me happy. But I was careful, and for each of the rooms contacted specialists in the period and picked their brains," she says.