Living in a Fairy Tale World

Coleen Moore's fairy tale castle at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Last week I was driving to work and listening to an audiobook when something in the book reminded me of this really cool exhibit I saw at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago last year. It’s a fairy tale castle with elaborately decorated rooms like a giant doll house, commissioned by silent film star Colleen Moore and built by some of the greatest architects and craftsmen of the 1930s and 1940s. I can’t find a photo to do it justice, but it’s about 8 feet by 9 nine feet (way bigger than my office) and every surface is painted with painstaking detail. Some of the art was done by world renown artists like Walt Disney and it holds a number of valuable miniature treasures, including a book of famous autographs, 1,000 year old carvings and other historical, religious and political artefacts. It has real working lights and plumbing that shoots tiny streams of water in the bathrooms and garden, too.  Just looking the online tour takes me back and makes me happy. If you’re in Chicago, be sure to check it out. (The whole museum is much more interesting than I thought it would be, especially since I’m an English/history person, not math/science.)

The dining room of the castle reminds me of Arthur's Round Table

Why am I telling you this? Well, for one it’s cool and I want people to know it exists. But more importantly, we’ve been talking about sources of inspiration lately and I’ve realized this is one of mine. Call me the little girl who never grew up, but I could easily spend all day staring at it and imagining storylines from the beautiful miniature decorations. (I just bought the book that goes with the exhibit, so pretty soon I’ll be able to do just that.) Anyone who knows of my fascination with castles won’t be too surprised that I love this beautiful representation of the world my brain lives in 90% of the time. And it also reminds me of my new favorite show, Once Upon a Time.

What about you? What are some of your more unusual sources of inspiration? Have any of you seen this exhibit? What did you think?

PS – Let it be known that someday I will own a miniature castle like this (okay, maybe not as big) and decorate it to be my own version of Camelot. Maybe it could even be part of my real castle – because you know I’m going to live in one. Hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big!