Thursday, 08 September 2011 08:46

Museum of Miniatures relocates to Nanton

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By Susan Quinlan
What started as a hobby for retired B.C. Ferries Captain Roy Wittman has blossomed into a unique tourist attraction, bringing Roy and his wife, Carol, inland first to Cardston and now north to Nanton.

“It’s beautiful here, and Nanton is a tourist town,” said Carol, who does the bookkeeping, design, layout and paperwork for the Museum of Miniatures, leaving the design and construction of the miniatures in Roy’s capable hands.

While still working as a captain, Roy’s miniature-making hobby began taking over his working life, explained Carol. He then sold some of those miniatures, to make room for more, but the hobby continued to grow and eventually sparked the idea of setting up the museum in sunny, southern Alberta.

“When Roy retired, he needed something to do and we both really like people.”

After a few years in Cardston, the Wittmans realized most of their business was coming from points north, so when the current building became available in Nanton they packed up and have now set up across from the Nanton Husky, along south-bound Highway 2.

The Museum of Miniatures carries visitors back in time, explained Carol, to when the region’s first settlers arrived in covered wagons.

“As time moves on, farming becomes a way of life with horses and then with steam. The oat field in one scene, measuring two feet by four feet, is made up of 12,000 tiny plants. That took almost two months to do.”

Displays also include a pioneer fort and native villages, a herd of buffalo, forests with wild animals and a thriving western town complete with background scenery including mountains, rivers and lakes.

There are also miniature stables, a blacksmith’s shop, school, church, general store, hotel and much more, all designed and handcrafted by Roy.

“Roy made all the buildings and each building has a shake roof which meant putting 25,000 miniature shakes on by hand. Connecting the buildings is a boardwalk made of over 700 planks.”

There’s even an area specifically for children which includes miniatures of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Flintstones.

“Roy did everything all from scratch. We only buy the figurines.”

Strolling around the inside perimeter of the building takes visitors through the history of the west, while the central showcase presents a variety of displays including the inside of houses and businesses, and African and circus scenes as well.

There’s also an exhibit of about 161, 1/24” scale automobiles in that central area.

“Just a real variety.”

The museum is open from May 1 to Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for youth seven to 12. Children six and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. There are also group rates available.The Museum of Miniatures is located at 2120 - 19 Street in Nanton.

For more information about the museum or to view pictures of some of their displays, visit the website at: or phone 403-646-3235.

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