Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tiny People

Now and then a new website featuring "Miniatures" comes across my e-mail. Look at this one:
Tiny People's Wonderful World of Food

Mini-Model In A Bottle

This miniature model of Michael's Museum (next to a shiny new dime for scale) was created by Jenny Schrider, who created the life size Michael's Museum at Chicago Children's Museum. This tiny treat is a real treasure! Models are small reproductions anyway so you can imagine how SMALL this one is!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On the CCM website

It's the 1950's

Usually don't brag about what I cook for dinner but with the opening of Michael's Museum at Chicago Children's Museum, I have been feeling very 50's (when I was between 5 and 15 years old.) So decided to make Turkey Tetrazzini, which I have never done before, and probably haven't eaten since I was between 5 and 15! Simply Recipes: Turkey Tetrazinni

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seen today...

Seen in Michael's Museum today during "The Curator is In:" a little girl lying on her belly visiting with the Museum Mouse, a dad and daughter playing PEEK-A-BOO through the Game Piece PEEK-A-BOO cabinet, a mom crawling through the "smaller door" while her three year old son crawled through after her, kids sorting the multi-colored puff balls into the type tray on the wall, six visitors grouped around the Coffee Table playing the Coffee Table Can You Find It Game, a grandmother looking at the Antique Christmas items, and much much more...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Daily Candy for Kids

Michael's Museum is mentioned in "Daily Candy for Kids" online.

Click below, scroll down on left under: "What to do in Chicago: SEE."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011
Dear Family and Friends of Michael’s Museum,
Here is a brief summary of the opening of MM at Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) on Navy Pier. If you were able to join us - it was wonderful sharing the magic and joy of the events with you. If you were unable to join us - we missed you and want to share the day with you in this brief summary. There is also a link to photographs of the events.
Having some 75 staff of CCM come through the two scheduled walk throughs on Thursday 5/12/11 was my first opportunity to witness the reaction of others than those involved with the exhibit and installation. Great fun to sit back and watch. The collections, miniature cup cakes, small glasses of milk, and party favors were enjoyed by all.
The Friday morning ribbon cutting ceremony was wonderful. It was attended by approximately 90 people. Being serenaded by the CCM Sometimes Band (Sometimes they are in tune, other times they are not.) was a first for me, the “Mouse Eye View of Michael's Museum” art piece commissioned for me by CCM to commemorate the day is hanging on my wall, and Jennifer Farrington's (CEO)  opening words were moving. 

I had the opportunity after the am ceremonies to spend several hours in Michael's Museum interacting with and observing the younger and older and even oldest visitors who arrived at CCM just to spend the day, not knowing it was opening day for MM. It was a joy for me to witness the magic that permeates the exhibit. 
At the risk of bragging, it seems to be an instant hit on so many levels, many of which I probably cannot even begin to perceive. I have enjoyed being a "big celebrity in a little room" and was asked many times to pose with children while the parents took a photograph.
The comments, thank you's, and pictures in the journal that lives on the curator's desk are touching and it is already half full. I have watched two and three year olds as well as seniors interact with the collections that are behind plexi as well as with the manipulatives which are strewn around the exhibit. Some people come and go, some return, others have lingered.
The "Coffee Table Seek and Find" has logged countless hours of involvement by young ones alone (magnifying glass in hand,) by adults, and by adults guiding their children through the activities. 
The Museum Mouse Entrance gets lots of attention with people of all ages lying on their belly to interact with the adorable rodent. 
The Smaller Entrance attracts people who can just walk in without ducking and those who have to crawl through (read adults.) I have seen some kids take knee dives and slide through the the Smaller Entrance into the exhibit (and out again.) 

Probably the most interesting phenomenon is that almost every time there have been visitors in the exhibit (which seems to be always) at least one little girl or boy has spent time with the feather duster cleaning the collections. Interesting that children so young even recognize what a feather duster is. More interesting is that they seem to be so involved in and thoroughly enjoying the cleaning opportunity.
At the celebration evening event on Friday over 300 people were in attendance and the "Joy and Magic Meter" needle was off the screen. The Great Hall was lit with a soft blue glow, conversation hummed musically, and the warm red-walled MIchael's Museum exhibit was crowded with excited, involved, amazed, amused, astounded visitors.
The following Tuesday I was back at MM as part of the Parent Program scheduling called “The Curator is In.” I just hung around to greet visitors and chat. In the two hours I was there, we clocked over 200 visitors who had just come to CCM for the day or on a school field trip.
Here is a link to an amazing analysis of the exhibit and the opening festivities that was written by a long time friend, educator, and artist Jan Yourist: Nothing small about that… | Nexus
Finally, here is a link to photographs of the events: Michael's Museum Photographs More photos will be added all the time so check back throughout June.
Thanks for being part of MM@CCM and thanks for being part of my life!
Michael, Curious Collector, Creator and Curator
Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures
At Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier
P.S. Fun sharing all this with you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PART TWO FOLLOW-UP - Photographs

"What People Saw at the Opening of Michael's Museum"

• • •

On Friday, May 13, 2011, Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures opened at Chicago Children's Museum.

All the photographs linked in my previous BLOG are still there plus UPDATES including a final version of THE EXHIBIT as well as JAN's AM & PM Photo and Jenny's Mini Model.

Click here to go to: Michael's Museum Photographs More photos will be added all the time so check back throughout June.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What People Are Saying About the Opening of Michael's Museum at Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier

What a wonderful exhibit. My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will surely be back. A.N.T.

Beautiful exhibit, great collections. P.B.

Fabulous in every way! L.L.E.M.

It was AMAZING! Well worth the trip to Navy Pier just to see your wonderful collection. G.M.

Tonight was very special. J.K.

Absolutely marvelous!!! The feel of the room, the joy, excitement, color of the collections is a triumph in many ways. J.H.

A wonderful exhibition. The "feel" of Michael is at the heart of it. R.Z.

What an awesome exhibit you have created and (so generously!) shared! It was a great night. A.D.

It was truly a magical experience. C.A.

It is the most awesome contribution to our city's cultural heritage! J.Y.

People going through your museum are bound to become friends---there’s this compulsion to point things out to whomever is standing near you so you just start talking. J.S.

I believe in the magic you brought to my life!  L.M.

I don't yet have words for the pecularly, comforting regression evoked by your little objects, a pull to a more idelaized childhood than anyone really had. J.M.

What a wonderful exhibit for the children to get their minds whirling with ideas for their own collections ... you have found a great way to help educate kids and boost their creativity! J.H.M.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Chicago Sun-Times

Well, as the activities and excitement surrounding the opening of Michael's Museum at Chicago Children's Museum mounted, this article appeared first in The South Town Star and then was repeated in the Sun-Times. Here is the link:


What People Saw at the opening of Michael's Museum at Chicago Children's Museum

On Friday, May 13, 2011, Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures opened at Chicago Children's Museum.

Here are many photographs of the opening events which included:

1) a visit from Barbara Mahany, features writer for the "Q" Section of The Chicago Tribune who first wrote about Michael's Museum back in April of 2007,

2) two early walk throughs for 75 CCM staff members on Thursday 05/12/11,

3) approximately 90 guests at the morning ceremonies on Friday, May 13, 2011, and

4) over 300 people at Friday's evening celebration.

Photographs were taken by Jake Bloom, Isaac Bloom, and Michael Horvich, Curator.

This BLOG will be reposted as we receive more photos from other photographers.

You may download any of these photos. More photos will be added all the time so check back throughout June.

The photo albums are located at: Michael's Museum Photographs

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Nothing Small About That ... "

The most wonderful review of Michael's Museum and its opening at Chicago Children's Museum. I am overwhelmed with the generosity of Jan's comments, the insightfulness of her observations, the visual expertise she brings from her own wonderful art as it applies to enjoying the magic of life. A must read: Jan's BLOG

Michael's Comments at the Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

I retired from education fifteen years ago after thirty years of teaching. I thought I was finished with children. Well, guess what? I am back ... and I am excited to be back.
When asked if Michael’s Museum ... being part of Chicago Children’s Museum ... has met my expectations ... I honestly cannot answer ... for the simple reason that  I never EXPECTED this to happen. 
I just like to collect small things. While I have been a collector for most of my life, the collections you will see here today have been assembled in earnest over the last 30 or so years.
If I HAD expected all of this to happen, I would have to say that the expectations have been MORE than met by the staff of CCM in such an amazing, wonderful, professional, dedicated, and talented way.
At times like this, it is customary to thank all the
people who have helped make something possible . . . Here is my CHRONOLOGY OF THANK YOU’S.
• • •
First, I would like to thank my parents, wishing they were still with us to witness this day. It seems particularly important to recognize my mom and dad on this occasion, as Michael’s Museum owes itself in part, to them ... They raised me to become the best person I could be ... but also encouraged me to hold on to the child within ...  still approximately 9 years old. 
Second, I am sorry that my sister and brother-in-law and Texas family are not able to be here to experience this joy with me but look forward to when they will be able to get here to go on a field trip to MM@CCM.
Next, I would like to acknowledge and thank the following people and briefly tell you their role in bringing Michael’s Museum to Chicago Children’s Museum. 
When I mention your name, please stand and remain standing.
Gregory, my life partner of over 35 years, who knowing my penchant for collecting, one day suggested that I collect only small things. Little did he know that it would come to this. 
As an architect, he created a space in the guest room of our previous home, dedicated to my collecting. The space became known to family, neighbors, and friends as Michael’s Museum. The original Michael’s Museum.
Amethel Parel Sewell, friend and Editor of the award winning Brilliant Star Children’s Magazine, first helped me to realize that Michael’s Museum could aspire to greater things.  

A special thank you to Susan Tillett director of The Ragdale Foundation, in Lake Forest, Illinois, where last year I was awarded a residency in non-fiction writing and to whom I give credit for first giving me the confidence to call myself a writer.
Barbara Mahany, features writer for The Chicago Tribune was so excited when she saw Michael’s Museum that she devoted an entire “Q” Section article to it. The article appeared in the Chicago Tribune on April Fools Day 2007. It was reviewed again in her recap at year’s end.
Barbara Unikel, my long time, dear friend and fellow educator ... previous Vice President of Education at The Chicago Children’s Museum ... introduced me to Jennifer Farrington.
Jennifer Farrington, then Vice President of Education at CCM, now CEO, in turn introduced me to Louise Belmont-Skinner ... Vice President of Exhibits.
Louise and her then assistant, Sheila Scullin, not only fell in love at first sight with my collections, but together with Jennifer Farrington made the commitment to bring Michael’s Museum to Chicago Children’s Museum.
Jennifer and Louise have remained my greatest admirers, supporters, and champions. 
I like to call Gregory, Barbara, Barbara, Jennifer, and Louise my puzzle piece collection. Without any one of them this puzzle called Michel’s Museum at CCM.
The Officers and Board Members ... and Management Team of Chicago Children’s Museum ... have given Michael’s Museum their outstanding support. 
Jenny Schrider has been involved with this project since 2007 as confidant and designer of the Michael’s Museum Exhibit space.
The Michael’s Museum Core and Extended Teams . . .  fifteen people in all . . . since October have taken Michael’s Museum to heights that I never dreamed possible ... and which you will get to experience in a short while.
Thank You Michael’s Museum Team Members for all you have done. 
Katie Slivovsky- Exhibit Developer
Michele Boglio - Project Manager
Natalie Bortoli - Education Developer
Louise Belmont-Skinner - VP of Exhibits
Jenny Schrider - Designer
Ben Waite - Visitor Advocate
Mark Frank - Lead Preparator
Patrick Downs - Assistant Preparator
Rick Cassettari - Support Preparator
Peter Williams - Associate VP of Exhibit and Building Operations
Jennifer Joyce - VP of Marketing
Natalie Kreiger - Director of Public Relations
Stephanie Lieber - VP of Individual Giving
Jon Resh - Artistic Director
Ellen Sanderson - Graphics Designer
Brett Taylor - Special Projects Coordinator for the Office of the President 
and Jasmine Raehl - Manager of the Gift Shop.
Everyone working at CCM always make me feel welcome  ...  if not like a celebrity ...  every time I arrive for a meeting or visit. Please stand.
Family and friends have joined today’s celebrations and many have traveled from out of state to join us. I would like them to stand.
Everyone who is a MEMBER of this wonderful place called Chicago Children’s Museum, show yourselves.
Everyone who has EVER collected, STILL collects, or PLANS to collect . . . whether tiny treasures like I do . . . or larger things like like ideas, experiences, memories,  photographs, books, and more please join us in standing.
• • • 
To everyone standing ...  I THANK YOU ...  for helping make this day possible.  Look around at all of these wonderful people and give yourselves a big round of applause.
• • •
In closing ... I am grateful and honored on this ... the occasion of the opening of Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures ... at Chicago Children’s Museum ... a world class children’s museum ... with a world class staff ... in a world class city. 
Ladies, Gentlemen, and Children of all ages, step right up ... be amused, be amazed, be astounded ... feel the magic ... experience the joy ... that is ... Michael’s Museum at Chicago Children’s Museum.

Thank you.

Some Random Thoughts

I cannot believe...

Words cannot express...

I am overwhelmed that...

It is amazing to think...

It is impossible to conceive that...

I never expected...

Can you imagine...

My eyes are popping...

Emotions are flowing...

These random thoughts are brought to you by Michael, Creator and Curator of Michael's Museum now open as a permanent exhibit at Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier. Being in the museum incites joy and magic, memories and emotions, story telling and sharing. Come look, explore, find, experience, play, sort, categorize, tell stories, share, rest, pick up a feather duster and clean. Have fun. Be amazed, be amused, be astounded. Feel the magic, experience the joy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Michael's Museum is now open. HURRAY!

Amazing opening of Michael's Museum during yesterday morning's ceremonies and last night's celebration. Over 90 were at the AM function and over 300 attended the PM event. The" JOY AND MAGIC METER" needle was off the screen. Thanks to all of my family and friends for their overwhelming support! If you weren't able to join, the exhibit is a permanent one at Chicago Children's Museum. Come visit. The Museum Mouse will be there to greet you.

Friday, May 13, 2011


TODAY IS THE DAY. Pardon our shouting but it is finally here. In the making for the last 30 years, 3 years waiting patiently in climate controlled storage next to the likes of collections from the Art Institute and The Museum of Modern Art. 3x3=9 months is the planning. 3 weeks in the installation. And now, The Chicago Children's Museum proudly presents:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This article appeared in the South Town News. It will appear again in The Chicago Sun Times on Friday, May 13th.

Click on this link to see the article:

Today's Tiny Treasure: White Metal Acorn


2 days until the opening of Michael's Museum at The Chicago Children's Museum

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Today's Tiny Treasure: Michael with Auntie Anne


4 days until the opening of Michael's Museum at The Chicago Children's Museum

Answers to the "Parts & Pieces" BLOG

First, make sure you have seen the pictures on the "Parts & Pieces" BLOG

Next, here are the answers:

1. Larger entrance to Michael's Museum from inside looking out into the Great Hall.

2. The sofa where visitors can sit and play and think and tell stories and visit, etc.

3. United States History of Flags display rack. Recently designed by Rick and built by Patrick.

4. Top of the Pan-Asian Art Collection Cabinet.

5. Wall shelf holding the Teddy Bear Collection Cabinet.

6. Protective paper covering the plexiglass protecting one of the bookshelves.

7. A drawer that will filled with tiny treasures for visitors to display in one of the interactive cabinets.

8. The Blue Shelf waiting to be filled with the Vintage Toys Collection.

9. Red velvet drapes covering the smaller entrance to Michael's Museum.

10. An antique type setters tray that visitors can fill with tiny treasures.

11.  Inside of the Key Collection Cabinet.

12. Keys on a ring hanging outside the Key Collection Cabinet.

13. Hand made paper embossed with Native American Indian Heads.

14. An activity shelf on which visitors can organize a collection.

15. A stainless screw attaching the plexiglass cover to the Mexican Art Flats Collection