add to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next
Zoom in Zoom out Pan left Pan right Pan up Pan down Maximum resolution Fit in window Fit to width Rotate left Rotate right Hide/show thumbnail
Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle
Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle
Resource Typeimage
TitleColleen Moore's Fairy Castle
Coverage / Year1928 to 1935
DescriptionColleen Moore's Fairy Castle is 8 feet, 7 inches in length; 8 feet, 2 inches wide; with the tallest tower standing at 7 feet, 7 inches. It has intricate systems of running water and electricity. It is constructed of aluminum, gold, quartz, rose, jade, walnut, bronze, alabaster, mother-of-pearl, crystal, silver, glass, and ivory. Contained within the castle are miniatures such as tapestries, frescoes, paintings, books, manuscripts, gems, and silver and gold furnishings. It is scaled one inch to one foot, or one-twelfth human size. The scale of the artifacts within the castle varies.
InterpretationThe Fairy Castle is an imaginative world built for tiny beings. It was the dream of silent screen actress Colleen Moore and her father, Charles Morrison. Begun in 1928, it has fairy tale themes, miniature treasures, and fantastical interiors created by architect and Hollywood set designer Horace Jackson, interior designer Harold Grieve, and cameraman Henry Freulich. Distinguished miniatures in the Castle include eighteenth-century volumes printed from type and books with handwritten passages by twentieth-century novelists such as Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Daphne du Maurier, and John Steinbeck. There is also a book containing autographs collected by Colleen Moore of famous twentieth-century individuals such as Albert Einstein, John Glenn, Pablo Picasso, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Orville Wright. Also in the Castle are miniature music manuscripts penned by composers such as George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, and Leonard Bernstein. Other highlights in the Fairy Castle include a Syrian vase, circa A.D. 740; stained-glass which was blown out of the window of Lambeth Palace, residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, during a World War II bombing raid on London; and a painting of Mickey and Minnie Mouse by Walt Disney. On April 5, 1935, the Fairy Castle™s cornerstone was laid by Sara Delano Roosevelt, mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt, christening the completed castle. In 1934 Colleen Moore launched the Fairy Castle on a tour throughout the U.S. The proceeds benefited children's charities. Colleen Moore lent the Castle to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1949 and later donated it in 1976. She believed that fairy tales helped to develop imagination and creativity in children. Colleen Moore herself said that she is sure "the great designers of automobiles and machinery had wonderful fantasies when they were little." Colleen Moore maintained an active interest in the Castle and frequently visited the Museum to meet with the staff. She died in 1988.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 25-27 Fine Arts;
Author or CreatorMoore, Colleen, 1902-1988
Other ContributorsFreulich, Henry, 1906-
Jackson, Horace
Grieve, Harold
Morrison, Charles
SourceMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession file #49.129
Subject / KeywordsCastles; Movie stars; Films; Movies; Motion pictures; Architecture; Miniatures; Fairy tales; Fairies; Hollywood, California
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier49.129
CONTENTdm file name18724151982002_COLLEENM.jpg
powered by CONTENTdm ® | University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Homepage ^ to top ^