Thorne Miniature Room: Pennsylvania Kitchen, 1752

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Young children love to play with small objects, such as tiny racecars and diminutive dolls. The allure of miniature playthings will surely make sharing this month's Art Print a captivating experience for your students.

Share the Art Print and its title, and if possible, a sampling of images of the other Thorne Rooms (www. To help students visualize the scale of the actual diorama, display a box of approximately the same size. Give students time to study the print, and identify the furnishings and objects in the space. Explain the purpose of unfamiliar objects, such as the spinning wheel, and ask students to describe how this 18th-century American kitchen compares to their own kitchen at home.

Bring in a selection of dollhouse objects, and set up a small space in which students can create their own interior environments during free time. (Tag sales are excellent places to find these pieces, and families with older children may be willing to donate gently used miniatures.) Older students can also make furnishings from bits of cardboard, glue and other odds and ends that can be creatively turned into miniatures to add to the class diorama.


Author Marianne Malone was fascinated by the Thorne Rooms while growing up in Chicago, Ill. She recently published her first novel, The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Random House, 2010), a story in which two children are magically transported into the miniature environments, where they set out to unlock a mystery. Share the Art Print with students, explaining that the diorama is one of 68 rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago's collection. Give students time to describe what they see in the print. To keep students interested in exploring scale in art, devote time each week to read aloud from The Sixty-Eight Rooms. As you progress through the text, share images of the rooms that are described in the book. …