2017 Annual Report The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures


Tucson can take pride in knowing The Mini Time Machine is something special. It is one of just a few miniature museums in the country featuring fine scale miniatures. We aspire to create a delightful museum experience and strive to astound you with each of our exhibits – but we want to go even further. In 2017, we began some big work: the writing of a strategic plan for the future of our Museum of Miniatures.

We gathered input from you, our community members, through surveys and focus groups. Your valuable feedback provided the staff and board with the insight needed to affirm our mission, articulate our vision and values, and establish three goals: broaden the understanding of miniatures as an art form; build a board that can effectively govern the organization and steward the founders’ vision; and prepare for a sustainable future. We anticipate that this ambitious plan will enable us to deliver a bigger, better encounter with the world of miniatures now and in the future.

Alongside this ongoing work, we opened a Community Corner exhibit space, and created additional programming and resources to bring new audiences to the museum. We increased marketing efforts to attract visitors from Mexico, and translated exhibit materials for three of our temporary exhibits into Spanish, to better serve them. To conserve energy, money, and minimize light damage to the collection, we initiated a transition from halogen and incandescent lights to LEDs, and began the installation of a solar energy system that will start operating in 2018. Behind the scenes, we streamlined and improved our accounting, by transitioning to a robust, low-cost, cloud-based, nonprofit-specific accounting system.

Thank you for contributing your thoughts, ideas, and vision for the future of the museum with us as we launched our strategic plan. Above all, we thank you for your continued patronage and friendship! Your support ensures that The Mini Time Machine Museum will loom large as a Tucson treasure, a must see for locals and visitors alike.

Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, Executive Director at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures


Our mission is to preserve and advance the art of miniatures.


Our vision is that the art of miniatures be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

Our Values

  • Quality
  • Accessibility
  • Stewardship


When planning our programming and exhibits, the following questions are always at the forefront of the process: How can we reach more people? How can we be more accessible? How can we provide a more meaningful experience?

In 2017, we presented more temporary exhibits, provided more free admission, and offered more interactive gallery experiences than the previous year.


42,339 people engaged with the museum in 2017, either through a visit, attending one of our programs, taking a group tour or field trip, attending a private event at the museum, or receiving a museum outreach presentation.

Supporting our Community

In 2017, the museum provided free admission through the following programs: 8th Anniversary, Blue Star Museums, Community Support Program, Culture Pass, Memorial Weekend Summer Kick-off, My Time at The Mini, Sizing Up My World, Teacher Appreciation Month, and the Tucson Miniature Showcase.

The museum donated $5,987 worth of free admission passes to local nonprofits to assist with their fundraising efforts.

In total, the museum provided more than $50,000 in free or reduced admission in 2017.

"You won't believe in magic until you see it with your own eyes."

–Kevin B., Google review, 2017

“Rivaling any Smithsonian in layout design, presentation, lighting, and interaction, the Miniatures Museum is one of the most professional museums I've ever visited. If the content doesn't interest you, then come marvel at the engineering template all museums should follow.”

– Matthew K., Google review, 2017

“We love the Miniature Time Museum. Every time we go our family has a wonderful time. We love how they change the displays around, finding all the little fairies everywhere, story time and their interactive activities. Thanks for being here in Tucson. Wonderful getaway for a couple hours anytime of year.”

– Kelly H., Facebook, 2017

In 2017, the museum received 220 reviews from Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Yelp combined. These reviews were 97.3% positive.

Collection Acquisitions

We established a Collection Acquisitions Fund to provide dedicated monies for purchasing new acquisitions and for collection conservation.

2017 Collection Acquisitions

Matching funds from an Anonymous Donor allowed us to purchase an Automata House, from the collection of Cristy Taylor, handmade between 1890 and 1930.

Donations from Eunice and E.G. Hernandez and Family

The Museum acquired a collection of thirty-two one-quarter-life-size Historical Figures by the artist George Stuart. A spotlight exhibit space featuring rotating selections from the collection provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy these fascinating figures on a regular basis.

The following figures in the donation were all made by George Stuart between 1957 and 1965: Alfred the Great, Assurbanipal, Caroline von Brunswick, Catherine de Medici, Cleopatra, Emperor Nero, Erik the Red, Helen of Troy, Ivan the Terrible, Julius Caesar, King Nebuchadrezzar II, Livia Drusilla Augusta, Maria Fitzherbert, Philip II, Poppaea Sabina, Queen of Sheba, Tutankhamun, Circa 1815 Walking Dress, Dionysus of Syracuse, Dress of the Lincoln Era, Girl in a Walking Dress c. 1820s, Herod Antipas, Isabeau of Bavaria, Minos of Crete, Mt. Vernon Lady, Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria 1900, Queen Victoria Robes of State 1837, William the Conqueror, Alexandra Princess of Wales

Donations from Debbie Young

Log Cabin, Thomas and Catherine Latané, 1987 and The Doll House, Debbie Young, 2013

Study Collection Donations

Doctor's Office Roombox, Jayne McCluskey, circa 1980, Anonymous donor and Four Turned Vessels by James Heuser, 2017, James and Carol Heuser


In total, the museum presented nine temporary exhibitions in 2017. We translated exhibit materials for three of these exhibits into Spanish and provided interactive gallery activities with five of the exhibits.

The Art and Science of Portrait Miniatures

January 24, 2017 through April 16, 2017

This exhibit was organized by the Juniata College Museum of Art.


“The content and quality of the exhibits were unexpected. The age of the displays from the mid 19th century to today was amazing. The global breadth of the exhibit spoke highly of the curators of the museum. The workmanship of the items displayed was beyond description. We felt privileged to be there for the exhibition of painted miniature portraits.”

– Edward C., TripAdvisor, 2017

Agua Caliente Elementary Littles Home Show

May 15, 2017 through May 27, 2017

After reading books about John Peterson's The Littles, students visit the museum for inspiration and to learn how miniaturists transform objects from the real world into items for their miniature worlds. Back at school, they go through the writing process to create their own versions of Littles stories. Finally, each child builds and furnishes a Littles house of their own. Selected works are chosen to be exhibited for two weeks at the museum. 2017 was the 5th year of the partnership between The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures and Agua Caliente Elementary School.

Bob Murphy's Railroad Town

June 6, 2017 through August 6, 2017


Jean LeRoy's Buzzard Creek Ghost Town

September 25, 2017 through November 5, 2017


George Stuart Historical Figures: Early Works from the Hernandez Monsanto Collection

Part I: September 22, 2017 through November 26, 2017 and Part II: November 28, 2017 through January 21, 2018


Holidays Around the World and Throughout Time

November 21, 2017 through January 7, 2018


“A one-of-a-kind museum experience! Do not visit Tucson without stopping here, and don't live here without dropping in at least once a year - especially around the Holidays!”

– Benjamin C., Google review, 2017

The Community Corner

In 2017, we introduced the Community Corner, a commitment to exhibiting a variety of work in the miniature genre created by local community members.

Rudy Flores and Teresa Estrella: Cultural Army of Tucson

May 9, 2017 through August 27, 2017


James Heuser: Wee Woodworking

August 29, 2017 through December 17, 2017


David Fischer: Model Builder Extraordinaire

December 19, 2017 through April 29, 2018



A robust schedule of programs, classes, tours, outreach, and community events made 2017 an exciting year of continued growth for the Education Department. Artist demonstrations and temporary hands-on activity stations encouraged museum guests to explore miniatures through writing, drawing, creating and sharing ideas with others. In 2017, an emphasis on community engagement led to participation in regional events such as the Tucson Festival of Books and Arizona Public Media’s Dímelo: Stories of the Southwest, among others. The Community Support Partnership Program, which provides museum admission to local social service organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Ronald McDonald House, was created in 2017. We reimagined our Teacher Appreciation program to provide a full month of museum admission and resources to local educators. Lastly, a restructured summer program condensed all camp sessions into the month of June. By offering sessions both morning and afternoon, the museum increased its offering to 8 sessions and opened availability in July for new youth programs. These new programs – Night Around the Campfire, an evening of storytelling, flashlight tours and crafting, and Tinker Workshops, an art-based makerspace, along with a new Family Summer Pass, allowed for continued engagement with families during the summer months.

Recurring Programs

Kids Create Family Fun Program

Tiny Tales for Tots

“We took kids to Storytime and they absolutely loved it, didn't want to leave! Brilliant execution and phenomenal for imagination and learning.”

– Levi O., Facebook review, 2017

Classes (Tokens of Appreciation: Mini Keepsakes and Fabergé Inspired Eggs, Haunted Wagon Stop Motion Class)

Artist Demonstrations (Rudy Flores and Teresa Estrella, Bob Murphy, James Heuser)

One-Time Programs

8th Annual May Day

Trick-or-Treating in the Galleries with Puppet Show

Petit Noel

My Time at The Mini (a program for people with autism and their families)

“I took my autistic granddaughter to the special event and we all loved it!!!! My son, my other granddaughter and I. So much to look at, so much to see. The work is amazing. Great staff, very helpful and were very happy to help.”

– Lizette M., Facebook review, 2017

New Programs

Tinker Workshops

“A fun place to visit to get a break from the sun! 7 year old and 4 year old daughters loved it. They had a ball hunting for the 5 fairies. My husband and I really enjoyed the miniatures. Girls had a lot of fun being creative in the craft room (every Thursday in July).”

– Nicole S., Google review, 2017

Night Around the Campfire

Reformatted Programs

Teacher Appreciation Month

Summer Camps (World of Dinosaurs, Ancient World: Pompeii, Galaxy Voyage, Fairy Garden Planter, Fairy Camping, Fairy Crystal Garden, and A Visit to the Big City, 8 scholarships were awarded)

“[My children] just love the Mini Time Machine Museum. Every summer all that they remember is their experience and what they have learned there. Your wonderful team taught them a lot, and they are looking forward to learning more. You really have a great team of people who know how to challenge them and get their attention, not only during the camp, but also after it’s over– because they kept searching for every topic they had learned there.”

– parent of a 2017 Summer Camp scholarship recipient

School Tours & Outreach

Educational school tours and museum outreach in the classroom continue to be a big focus at the museum. Towards the end of 2017, we partnered with Act One, a nonprofit organization that provides field trip opportunities to Title 1 schools. We also enrolled in their Culture Pass program by which we grant free admission passes to Pima County libraries to be accessed by their constituents.

School Outreach

3,454 students from 35 schools received a free, educational Outreach presentation from our Museum Education Assistant in 2017.

School Tours

2,004 students and teachers from 44 schools visited the museum on a school tour in 2017. Of these, 773 visited free of charge through our Sizing Up My World program.

“A field trip should increase our students’ appreciation of the arts and world culture. Our economically less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if we don’t provide them…This field trip to the Mini Time Machine Museum expanded our students’ learning through an active, interesting experience. We truly value the chance to give our students this wonderful opportunity. Your grant enabled this to happen.”

– Allison U., First Grade Teacher, Elvira Elementary School


The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a 501(c)3 organization. We focus the majority of our resources on providing quality museum programming to our community and beyond. Our organization's financials are independently audited annually.

2017 Museum Revenue

Our 2017 contributions and revenues totaled $950,910, represented by the following chart:

2017 Museum Expenses

Our 2017 expenses totaled $1,207,294, of which $228,004 was depreciation– a non-cash accounting method representing the decline in value of physical assets owned by our organization. 2017 expenses by function are represented by the following chart.

You can view our 2017 year-end Statement of Financial Position here.


Museum contributors have donated in several ways. Time, talent, tiny things, and monetary gifts from many made it possible to bring unique miniature works of art to the Tucson community and provided us with support that enabled us to offer interpretive programs for everyone.

2017 Board of Trustees

Patricia Arnell–Board President and Founder, Jessica Andrews–Trustee, Sarah Arnell–Trustee, Merry Lewis–Trustee, Curtis Pritz–Trustee, Leilani Rothrock–Trustee, Kathy Sawyer–Trustee, Craig Skowrup–Trustee, Mariam Abrams–Appointed Treasurer and Secretary

Special thanks to outgoing board member Craig Skowrup for service as a Board Trustee of The Mini Time Machine, Inc. Craig joined the Board in 2006 and worked closely with Museum Founders Pat and Walter Arnell to establish the museum in the Tucson Community.

Museum Staff

Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb–Executive Director, Gentry Spronken–Associate Director and Marketing Director, Emily Wolverton–Museum Services Manager, Moira McGee–Education Director and Registrar, Katy Kearney–Business Manager, Megan Anderson–Administration and Membership Coordinator, Michael Muscarello–Volunteer Manager and Education Assistant, Jesse Wiley–Facility Manager, Shaun Cochran–Museum Services Associate, Elysia Hansel, Museum Services Associate, Djamila Jean-Charles–Museum Services Assistant, Lani Smith–Museum Services Assistant

2017 Docents & Volunteers

Corky Anderson, Maria Buccino, Kathy Cohen, Amy Collinsworth, Ben Collinsworth, Chelsea Jo Crawford, Maggie Dansby, Lloyd Dennington, Polly Essinger, Beth Giachetti, Cynthia Hunt, Djamila Jean-Charles, Sarah Johnston, Ginger Krudup, Marsha Kwolek, Summer Lamb, Ellen Lewis, Priya Lin, Jan Littlefield, Phil McArthur, Jocelyn Muscarello, Kathy Naylor, Maureen O’Brien, Ginny Opsal, Faye Orchekowsky, Catherine Peterman, Jeannie Patino, Becky Pojunas, Rachel Rapp, Sara Risley, Mykaela Salvacion, Connie Sauve, Dr. Don Schroth, Lani Smith, Anne Snodgrass, Nelle Starr, Lyn Streeter, Kathy Thiebaut, Phyllis Thomas, Chris Wallace, Myrna Williams

Thank You to These Donors:

Every donation to the Museum is important and sincerely appreciated. We gratefully acknowledge these gifts of $100 and greater made to the Museum in 2017, and have made every effort to list them accurately. To make corrections, please contact Megan Anderson (520) 881-0606 or megana@theminitimemachine.org.

$10,000 +

Patricia Arnell, Merry Lewis, Margaret E. Mooney Foundation

$5,000 – $9,999

Connie Hillman Family Foundation, Southern Arizona Miniature Enthusiasts Inc.

$1,000 – $4,999

Sarah Arnell, Jennifer and Forrest Ashley, Lois Briggs, Craig Skowrup, Udall Law Firm

$500 – $999

Colleen Middleton, Kathleen Naylor

$250 – $499

Anonymous, Randy Fisher, IBM International Foundation , Dr. and Mrs. Robert Johnson, Marcia Jones and George Royer, Beth and Michael Kasser, Ellen Walling Lewis, Marilyn Ludwig, Kitty Murray, Robert and Era Pearce, Stephanie Pearmain, Leilani Rothrock, Lyn Streeter

$100 – $249

Megan Anderson and Mary Cromwell, Anonymous, Betsy Apking, Bonnie Burnett, Esthela Celaya, Beryl Cook, Joanne Downey, Alberta and David Farnsworth, Russ and Edie Ferrell, Sylvia Flagg, Dorothy P. Geis and Ruth Strand, Janie and Eugene Goodwillie, Peter and Barbara Halle, Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb and David Lamb, Helen Holliday, Felipe and Karen Jacome, Austin Jaycox and Myrna Jaycox, Jack Lapidos, Katie Lorentzen, James and Janna Lukanuski, Peggy and Gary Martin, Barbara and Ole Melhouse, Bob Morris and Patricia Hanley, Emily and Ted Morrison, Jocelyn and Michael D. Muscarello, Lucy Netsch and Thorne Pierce, Ginny and Neil Opsal, Sue and Chuck Ostermeyer, Michelle and Theo Panousopoulos, Sara and Ralph Risley, Brenda Roberts and Roxanna Gruber, Todd Rockoff, Rochelle Roth, Kathy and Chuck Sawyer, Anne Snodgrass, Yvonne So and Jay Chen, Gentry and Jacques Spronken, St. Mark's Preschool and Kindergarten, Nelle Starr, Alana Stubbs and Roy Loewenstein, Elizabeth M Taylor, Allyn Thompson and Hugh Thompson, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Sandi and Rueben Wagelie, Chris Wallace, Sally Withers and Luis Guerrero

Special thanks to the following in-kind donors:

Lloyd Dennington for donating 274 hours of accounting services, Eunice and E.G. Hernandez and Family for the generous donation of 32 one-quarter-life-size Historical Figures by George Stuart, Mr. and Mrs. James Heuser for donating handcrafted merchandise for our Museum Store and four turned wood vessels to our study collection, More To The Story Entertainment for donating the theatrical performance for Petit Noel, David Reinders for donating a 7 foot Cabinet House Debbie Young for donating The Doll House and Log Cabin to our collection

Grants awarded in 2017:

Arizona Commission on the Arts $28,000, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona $5,000

We achieved a lot in 2017, but we believe we can do more. We would like to add spotlight exhibits from national and international artists and special collections so people with different skills and interests continue to discover new miniature artwork appealing to them. We want to add new technology in the galleries, create more hands-on workshops and classes, and offer more free access to our programs. A gift of any size from you, our friends and supporters, will help us accomplish these things and make the miniature world accessible to a larger audience. Please support the museum’s endeavors to bring more people to our wee world of wonders.


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