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A Peek at Some Tiny Tamales

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us, which means that the museum will soon celebrate some of its most beloved traditions. We’ll wreath our mascots, we’ll welcome choirs into the Grand Staircase, and we’ll decorate the Thorne miniature rooms!

This year, in addition to the six rooms we decorated last year, we’ll add two new rooms to the mix: the New Orleans and New Mexico rooms. The image above is a sneak peek of the New Mexico room, where you can see the table laid out with treats for Las Posadas, a Catholic novena (nine-day devotion) that chronicles Mary and Joseph’s journey in the days leading up to Jesus’ birth.

Objects in the room were handmade by artisans from Chicago, Utah, and Italy and reflect actual decorations that would have been used in the 1930s and 40s, the time period that this room reflects. Thorne Room caretaker Mican Morgan crafted the tamales you see in the center of the table using Japanese silk paper. She chose it based on the texture’s similarity to a corn husk and hand dyed it before carefully wrapping and tying the tiny pieces of paper around small bits of clay.

Just outside the frame of this picture are a mask, a statue, and colorful decorations. We invite you to see all of these rooms in their entirety when they open this Friday. But for those of you outside Chicago, we’ll also post more pictures throughout the season, because these rooms are simply too good to miss!