Thiruvananthapuram

The abode of small things

A miniature of the Central railway station, Thampanoor, on display at the Teeny Weeny museum in the city.

A miniature of the Central railway station, Thampanoor, on display at the Teeny Weeny museum in the city.  

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A museum that displays miniatures

Teeny Weeny Museum on the Jagathy-Edapazhanji road houses miniatures, but runs high on ambition.

The museum, the brainchild of Sunil Ananthapadmanabhan, covers a wide spectrum, from the city’s very own affairs to the International Space Station.

Sunil was passionate about miniatures right from his childhood, and while recuperating from a stroke in February last, decided to take forward his dream of setting up a museum.

He had built up a substantial collection already and visited other museums, including one in Pune, to get an idea of how things are run.

After eight months and a huge dent on his savings, the Teeny Weeny Museum was inaugurated in a renovated house by Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran a couple of months ago. Sunil is assisted in the venture by Padmakumar K.G., and three artists. At a museum above the workshop the artists handcraft miniatures. The rest are sourced online or offline.

Art with bamboo

The first segment of the museum sports bamboo miniatures, with scaled models of the Charminar, Gateway of India, India Gate, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and houseboats, and contemporary houses, some of them incorporating the ‘naalekettu’ and ‘ettukettu.’ The bamboo miniatures are not very tiny, a deliberate decision so that visitors can appreciate the finer nuances without going too near, he says.

Space segment

Up next is the space segment. While a miniature handcrafted model of the International Space Station and a space shuttle are suspended from the ceiling, down below, there are models of Apollo 11 and Vostok 1, moon landing with the Rover, the vehicle assembly building at Sriharikota, the Sputnik, all arranged to the likeness of Kennedy Space Center, complete with roads and lawns. Sunil is currently fabricating a launchpad for rockets.

Local flavour

An exclusive segment provides the local flavour – tiny models of Central railway station here, complete with the facade, reservation counter, the Ponnara Sreedhara park in front, tracks, signals, overbridges, and even announcements. Three types of miniature engines (WDM, LHB, and turbo-charged) fabricated in Sunil’s workshop add to the authenticity. The segment will soon incorporate a track changing system.

Attention to detail stands out. Be it the benches and water kiosks on the platforms and the ATM near the station entrance or the ‘Pioneer’ transporter that conveys the materials to the ISS, everything seems designed to a T.

There are segments on the international airport and the Kowdiar area too, apart from one dedicated to individual miniatures.

There is a fee for entry to the museum.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 8:54:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/the-abode-of-small-things/article30570401.ece

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