$635,630
pledged of $222,097 goal
2,139
backers
13days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, July 30 2018 8:00 PM UTC +00:00.

$635,630
pledged of $222,097 goal
2,139
backers
13days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, July 30 2018 8:00 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Hello, everyone!

My name is Hans Fex. I've spent most of my life collecting rare and fascinating objects. Over the years, I've been able to assemble an incredible collection which I am now sharing with the world through a project called Mini Museum.

On the Amazon River in Peru. P.S. It was hot! Next day I lost the beard. :D
On the Amazon River in Peru. P.S. It was hot! Next day I lost the beard. :D

Since our first Kickstarter project in 2014, we've shared this journey across space and time with thousands of people all over the world.

It's been an amazing adventure so far and the entire Mini Museum team is so excited to come back to Kickstarter to share the ALL-NEW FOURTH EDITION!

Three incredible projects with thousands of people around the world! THANK YOU!
Three incredible projects with thousands of people around the world! THANK YOU!

Beginning with amino acids captured during the birth of the solar system, the Fourth Edition takes you on a new journey spanning billions of years of science and history.

Adventure from Beginning to End - Billions of Years of Science and History!
Adventure from Beginning to End - Billions of Years of Science and History!

You'll visit the bright highlands of the Moon, witness devastating and cataclysmic events here on Earth, and examine hundreds of millions of years of evolution. You'll turn your attention to the march of human civilization. The collection ends by turning back toward the promise of space and marveling at the wonder of life.

And it's all right here in the palm of your hand...

Mini Museum 4 - Large Fourth Edition Prototype (29 Specimens)
Mini Museum 4 - Large Fourth Edition Prototype (29 Specimens)

In total, the Fourth Edition collection contains 29 specimens. The full specimen list appears below with more information and pictures further down the page.

Detailed descriptions further down the page and on minimuseum.com
Detailed descriptions further down the page and on minimuseum.com

As with past collections, the Fourth Edition is a handcrafted, limited edition collectible. The unique specimens inside are clearly labeled and artfully arranged. The entire collection is encased in Lucite acrylic and designed to inspire for generations.

Unboxing and Exploring the Mini Museum Together!
Unboxing and Exploring the Mini Museum Together!

Your Mini Museum will arrive in a handsome Display Box designed just for the Fourth Edition. Inside the foam padded box, your Mini Museum will be protected by a Custom Micro-Fiber Pouch. You will also find a Certificate of Authenticity, and a special, hardcover book which we call the Companion Guide.

Get Ready to Explore with the Companion Guide to the Mini Museum!
Get Ready to Explore with the Companion Guide to the Mini Museum!

The Companion Guide is a starting point for learning more about the specimens in the collection, details about our process, and additional references so that you can continue exploring on your own.

Draft of the Fourth Edition Companion Guide Article on the First Space Shuttle
Draft of the Fourth Edition Companion Guide Article on the First Space Shuttle

The Mini Museum is a truly awesome collection to have and to explore, and will be a compliment to treasures you may already own. It also makes a wonderful gift for the person who has just about everything, or for someone special you want to inspire. It is designed for sharing!

A Beautiful Collection to Share!
A Beautiful Collection to Share!

During this Kickstarter campaign we are offering the opportunity to back the "Large" version of the Fourth Edition, which contains all 29 specimens and is encased in Lucite acrylic.

Mini Museum 4, Display Box, Certificate of Authenticity, Custom Micro-Fiber Pouch, and Companion Guide Book
Mini Museum 4, Display Box, Certificate of Authenticity, Custom Micro-Fiber Pouch, and Companion Guide Book

The "Large" Fourth Edition also comes with the following items:

  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Custom Display Box
  • Custom Micro-Fiber Pouch
  • Full-Color, Hardbound Companion Guide Book

Shipping $10 (USD) Worldwide!

No matter where you are in the WORLD, shipping will be $10 for your Kickstarter reward! This price will only be available during the Kickstarter campaign and will only apply to the rewards you are backing during the campaign.

Important Information for Backers Outside the United States

As with past projects, the shipping price for your Kickstarter reward only includes the cost of shipping. The price does not include sales tax/VAT or any duties/customs fees that may apply.

"What about the SMALL and the TOUCH versions?"

The SMALL and TOUCH versions of the Mini Museum are in development and will be released directly in September. Backers of this campaign (any reward level) will receive priority * and special pricing * when the Small and Touch versions are released. More details about these items will be shared in a project update.

Over the last few years we've tackled some big challenges, and I think we’ve captured something really special in the Fourth Edition. I'm just as excited about it as I was when we launched the First Edition.

Hair cut and beard trim revealed! (Collecting Water from the Amazon River)
Hair cut and beard trim revealed! (Collecting Water from the Amazon River)

Thank you all so very much for taking the time to learn more about our latest collection. Your support makes this possible!

Now, it's back to work!

- Hans Fex, Creator and Chief Curator of the Mini Museum

01. EXTRATERRESTRIAL AMINO ACIDS (c. 4,568,200,000 years old)

"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff." ~ Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980
"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff." ~ Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

Each year nearly 40,000,000 kilograms (88.1 million pounds) of meteoritic material rains down on the Earth. Less than 1% holds traces of organic compounds, and within this tiny subset scientists sometimes come across even rarer material... amino acids, the building blocks of life. The oldest of these meteorites, carbonaceous chondrites, date to the formation of the solar system.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is composed of two special carbonaceous chondrites: Murchison and Jbilet Winselwan. Both of these meteorites are CM2 class carbonaceous chondrites, a class known to contain the highest density of amino acids.

02. LUNAR HIGHLANDS (c. 3,200,000,000 years old)

"You develop an instant global consciousness... You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch." ~ Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut
"You develop an instant global consciousness... You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch." ~ Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut

It might be hard to imagine volcanoes on the Moon, but the evidence of an active volcanic past covers our neighbor's cratered surface. The highlands of the Moon are the white areas we can see with the naked eye here on Earth. These regions are dominated by a range of intrusive igneous rocks which form as large plumes of magma cool and crystallize within the crust. The dark areas which are called maria (latin for seas) are basalts created during volcanic floods on the surface.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a handcrafted "moon" composed of fine-grained dust extracted from the NWA 5000 lunar meteorite - one of the largest lunar meteorites ever found.

03. COPPER CRYSTALS (c. 300,000,000 years old)

"… I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality." ~ Ea-Nasir, Babylonian Merchant, 1750 BCE
"… I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality." ~ Ea-Nasir, Babylonian Merchant, 1750 BCE

The intricate lattice of native copper crystals reveals a story of deep geological processes lasting hundreds of millions of years. Stronger than gold but still soft enough to be shaped easily into tools, weapons, and decorative objects, this form of copper also played an important role in the development of human cultures across the globe as they stepped out of the Stone Age and into the Age of Metals.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from native copper deposits located near the city of Zhezqazghan, Kazakhstan. The earliest copper mining in this region dates back many thousands of years, crossing numerous cultures, with extensive trade routes into the ancient world.

04. THE GREAT DYING (c. 292,000,000 years old)

Life has often been disturbed on this earth by frightful events." ~ Georges Cuvier, Discours sur les révolutions de la surface du globe, 1822
Life has often been disturbed on this earth by frightful events." ~ Georges Cuvier, Discours sur les révolutions de la surface du globe, 1822

Known as "The Great Dying," the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event is the largest extinction event in the history of the planet. The chief catalyst of this extinction event was a series of massive volcanic eruptions known as the Siberian Traps. Over the course of 1,000,000 years, these flood basalt eruptions covered over 7 million square kilometers (2,700,000 square miles). Massive carbon dioxide and methane releases caused runaway global warming, killing nearly 95% of life on Earth.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a basalt slab from the Kuznetsk Basin in southwestern Siberia. The Kuznetsk Basin is also home to one of the largest coal deposits on earth, a remnant of the global destruction caused by the Siberian Traps.

05. PANGEA (c. 200,000,000 years old)

"Our planet is a restless home." ~ Sean C. Solomon, Chair NASA Solid Earth Science Working Group, 2002
"Our planet is a restless home." ~ Sean C. Solomon, Chair NASA Solid Earth Science Working Group, 2002

Driven by heat from the Earth's core, convection currents churn the solid silicates of the mantle, pushing and pulling the thin plates of crust, bringing continents together and tearing them apart in cycles which can last for hundreds of millions of years. Clusters of continents are known as supercontinents; the most famous of which is Pangea. The breakup of Pangea came after a series of powerful rifting events, in which strong pulses of magma forced continental plates apart at the seams, creating new crust and opening up the basin in which the Atlantic Ocean eventually took shape.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a polished diabase fragment from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province deposits of Eastern North America. The source rock was donated by the Luck Stone Quarry adjacent to the Manassas U.S. Civil War battlefield in Northern Virginia. The quarry is a magnificent location where it is possible to clearly see one of the rift valleys which tore through the ancient supercontinent and might once have become the Atlantic Ocean.

06. DINOSAUR FOOD (Cycad)

"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are." ~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are." ~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826

The palm-like figure of the Cycad is familiar to fans of classic, paleoart paintings. The extensive presence of these gymnosperms in the fossil record led many early researchers to think of Cycads simply as "dinosaur food," but the current thinking presents a more complex picture of this long-lived family of seed-bearing plants and their relationship with the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from a fossilized Cycad husk recovered on private land in Wyoming. Part of the Lance formation, this find dates to the Late Cretaceous Period, roughly 67,000,000 years ago

07. PLESIOSAUR (Paddle)

"Like a sea serpent run through a turtle." ~ William Buckland, Oxford University Geology Lectures, 1832
"Like a sea serpent run through a turtle." ~ William Buckland, Oxford University Geology Lectures, 1832

Featuring a long, snake-like neck and a stout body equipped with slender paddles, Plesiosaurs are one of the most readily identifiable of all ancient marine reptiles. Biomechanical reconstructions suggest that Plesiosaurs moved through the water in the same way that turtles or penguins do, more like flying than swimming.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from the paddles of two different Plesiosaurs, both recovered on private land but separated by vast distance in both time and location. The first specimen comes from the Lower Oxford Clay in Cambridgeshire, England dating to the Middle Jurassic Period, while the second comes from the Morrison Formation of Utah and dates to the Cretaceous Period.

08. RAPTOR (Dromaeosaurid Bone)

"You bred raptors?" ~ Dr. Alan Grant, Jurassic Park
"You bred raptors?" ~ Dr. Alan Grant, Jurassic Park

Known popularly as "raptors", dromaeosaurids were a diverse family of feathered theropod dinosaurs. Dromaeosaurids also had long tails and an elongated "sickle claw" on the second toe. While this distinctive body plan suggests a link to birds, scientists are still unclear on the exact connection, though there is some evidence that smaller species could at least glide.

The specimen used in the Mini Museum was selected from several species recovered in both Morocco and North America. Like birds, dromaeosaurids had a global distribution and varied widely in size from smaller than a modern day chicken to large, powerful predators measuring more than 18ft (6m) in length from tooth-to-tail.

09. MEGA CROC (Sarcosuchus Armor)

"How cheerfully he seems to grin / How neatly spreads his claws / And welcomes little fishes in / With gently smiling jaws!" ~ Lewis Carroll, The Crocodile, 1865
"How cheerfully he seems to grin / How neatly spreads his claws / And welcomes little fishes in / With gently smiling jaws!" ~ Lewis Carroll, The Crocodile, 1865

Sarcosuchus was an enormous, crocodile-like, aquatic reptile that dominated freshwater rivers and lakes of the Middle Jurassic Period through the Early Cretaceous Period. With the largest species reaching nearly 40 feet in length (11-12 meters) and weighing close to 8 metric tons, Sarcosuchus feasted on a wide range of prey, from fish to land-dwelling dinosaurs.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment from a Sarcosuchus scute (dermal armor) recovered from the El Rhaz Formation in Niger. Recent studies suggest that the largest Sarcosuchus specimens may have taken up to 60 years to reach their full size.

10. SABER-TOOTH TIGER (Smilodon Bone)

"If you think about it, Smilodon fatalis likely left their paw prints on what is today Hollywood Boulevard long before Marilyn Monroe left her handprints at the Chinese Theater." Z. Jack Tseng, Paleontologist of the American Museum of Natural History
"If you think about it, Smilodon fatalis likely left their paw prints on what is today Hollywood Boulevard long before Marilyn Monroe left her handprints at the Chinese Theater." Z. Jack Tseng, Paleontologist of the American Museum of Natural History

With twin serrated canine teeth measuring 8 inches (20 cm) and backed by 600 pounds (275 kg) of muscle, Smilodon is one of the most iconic animals of the Pleistocene Epoch. Biomechanical models suggest that Smilodon hunted by relying on powerful neck muscles to sink their long teeth into prey as opposed to using bite force to crush the windpipe as cats do today.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from a pair of Smilodon fatalis femurs recovered on private land in Florida. This species of Smilodon ranged across North America and into the western half of South America for roughly 1.5 million years, finally succumbing with other megafauna during the Quaternary Extinction Event 10,000 years ago.

11. GIANT BEAVER (Castoroides Tooth)

"The rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist." ~ Westley, aka The Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride, 1987
"The rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist." ~ Westley, aka The Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride, 1987

Even though the beaver is among the largest rodents in the world today, it's only a fraction of the size of its extinct cousin, Castoroides. Popularly known as the Giant Beaver, Castoroides was about the size of a modern black bear, weighing roughly 220 pounds (100 kg) and measuring more than 7 feet (2.5 m) without their long, flat tails.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of a Giant Beaver incisor recovered on private land. While we might imagine Castoroides using these mighty teeth to fell enormous trees, their blunt ends suggest the Giant Beaver lived as muskrats do today, feasting on softer, leafy plants rather than building dams and lodges.

12. DOGGERLAND MAMMOTH (Tooth)

"Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the coastline of today." ~ Dr. Richard Bates, Geochemist, St. Andrews Universit
"Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the coastline of today." ~ Dr. Richard Bates, Geochemist, St. Andrews Universit

During the Pleistocene, Great Britain was the northwest peninsula of the European continent. Bounded to the north by steep walls of ice, the land between was home to a steppe ecosystem full of life. Now lost beneath the waves of the North Sea, this phantom countryside is known as Doggerland and is now a fertile fishing ground which occasionally yields remains from a long vanished world of Neanderthals and megafauna like the woolly mammoth.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of a woolly mammoth tooth recovered from the lost world of Doggerland. The morphology of mammoth teeth and the distribution of mammoth remains suggests mammoths were predominantly grazers subsisting mainly upon grasses and sedges, a diverse biomass that the modern Arctic tundra doesn’t approach.

13. ELEPHANT BIRD (Aepyornis Eggshell)

"So why did the Elephant Bird disappear? I suspect it was these.... its eggs." ~ Sir David Attenborough, Attenborough and The Giant Egg, 2011
"So why did the Elephant Bird disappear? I suspect it was these.... its eggs." ~ Sir David Attenborough, Attenborough and The Giant Egg, 2011

The Elephant Bird was the largest member of an extinct family of flightless birds native to the island of Madagascar. Some individuals stood nearly 10 feet tall (3m) and weighed upwards of 1,100 pounds (500 kg). These massive birds laid the largest eggs of any known bird species, with volumes approaching 1.9 gallons (7L).

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of an Elephant Bird eggshell, generously donated from the personal collection of renowned Australian art dealer and long-time supporter of Mini Museum, Hank Ebes.

14. AMAZON RIVER

"Have I forgotten the Amazon, Earth's greatest river? Never, never, never. It has been burning in me for half a century, and will burn forever." ~ Naturalist John Muir
"Have I forgotten the Amazon, Earth's greatest river? Never, never, never. It has been burning in me for half a century, and will burn forever." ~ Naturalist John Muir

With headwaters located high in the Peruvian Andes, just 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Amazon river gathers strength from over 1000 tributaries as it flows for more than 4,300 miles (6,900 km) across the South American continent. On meeting the Atlantic Ocean, this mighty river discharges 7.7 million cubic feet of water per second. The river's massive, 2.7 million square mile basin (7 million square km) is home to the Amazon rainforest, the largest collection of living species on the planet.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a small vial of Amazon river water personally collected by Hans near Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos has the distinction of being the largest city on Earth which is only accessible by water or air.

15. STONEHENGE (Bluestone Quarry)

"The stones are great, and virtue they have." ~ Laȝamonn, Brut 1190
"The stones are great, and virtue they have." ~ Laȝamonn, Brut 1190

Of the numerous megalithic stone structures found throughout the British Isles and Continental Europe, Stonehenge is arguably the most famous. This ring of iconic stones was likely set in place around 2,500 BCE as part of a series of monuments, burial grounds, and ritual sites built in the same area over the course of thousands of years. Recent petrographic studies have closely linked chippings from the dolerite bluestones at Stonehenge to the quarry located at Craig Rhos-y-Felin.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of dolerite bluestone recovered downstream from the quarry at Craig Rhos-y-Felin. Located on the northern flank of the Preseli Mountains near Pembrokeshire, the Craig Rhos-y-Felin quarry was an active site for thousands of years, with the earliest known human encampments dating to 8,500 BCE. 

16. MUMMY BEADS (1ST MILLENNIUM BCE)

"If people can write to each other across space, why can they not write across time too?" ~ Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love
"If people can write to each other across space, why can they not write across time too?" ~ Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love

For thousands of years, artisans in Egypt and Mesopotamia created vibrant ceramics to echo the beauty of rare jewels. Once known by the Egyptian word "tjehenet," or "that which shines", the rich colors and glass-like surface are thought to capture the visual essence of immortality.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a selection of mummy beads spanning several eras from the 1st millennium BCE. The beads were acquired from the former collection of Simon Ohan Simonian, an antiquities dealer in Alexandria, Egypt throughout the 20th century.

17. ROMAN BATH (HYPOCAUST FLUE)

"Our ancestors did not think that one could have a hot bath except in darkness." ~ Seneca the Younger, Moral Letters to Lucilius Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, 65 CE
"Our ancestors did not think that one could have a hot bath except in darkness." ~ Seneca the Younger, Moral Letters to Lucilius Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, 65 CE

For much of Roman history, bathing was more than a matter of hygiene; it was a complex social ritual enjoyed by nearly every class. Grand public works served the public at large, while wealthy citizens also had their own smaller, private baths. When heat was required for these facilities, the Romans relied on an ingenious system known as a hypocaust.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from a section of Roman Hypocaust flue purchased from a private dealer of antiquities. This section of flue was part of a much larger system which consisted of a raised floor pitched on stacks of tiles. A furnace at the base level fed hot air into the gap beneath the floor which circulated and then rose up through the walls of the bath.

18. KNIGHT’S SWORD (c. 14TH CENTURY BCE)

"Conquest I saw, enthroned in majesty / But with sharpened sword above his head / Suspended by a single thread." Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale from Tales of Canterbury, 1387 CE
"Conquest I saw, enthroned in majesty / But with sharpened sword above his head / Suspended by a single thread." Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale from Tales of Canterbury, 1387 CE

Though many battles raged throughout the "long 13th century" of the High Middle Ages, scholars often refer to this century as a time of relative peace. This did not mean knights could retire on their estates. Eager kings looking to extend their authority, continued military campaigns to the Holy Land, and a growing professionalization of warfare all combined to keep the European knight reliant on the tools of their trade: horse, armor, and sword.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of a knight’s sword dating to the late 13th / early 14th century CE (Oakeshott Type XIIIa, Grans espeès d'Allemagne). For the last 200 years the sword was held in a private family collection in France until acquired by a private dealer of antique arms in the United Kingdom.

19. AZTEC EMPIRE (OBSIDIAN TOOL)

"I also said that I had news of a great lord named Montezuma ... and that, counting on the greatness of God, I thought I would go see him wherever he was." ~ Hernán Cortés, 1519 CE
"I also said that I had news of a great lord named Montezuma ... and that, counting on the greatness of God, I thought I would go see him wherever he was." ~ Hernán Cortés, 1519 CE

The history of human civilization in Mesoamerica spans thousands of years; numerous cultures connected by shared traditions in architecture, science, politics, religion, and warfare. Among the last in a long line, the Aztec Empire rose from an alliance of three city-states during a violent civil war at the beginning of the 15th century CE. This fast-growing empire came to encompass 80,000 square miles (207,000 square km) and more than 10,000,000 people. Aztec rule of the region came to an abrupt end in 1521 when the forces allied to the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés took control of the capital city of Tenochtitlán. 

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of an Aztec obsidian tool acquired from a private collection. Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass which can be polished to create a mirror-like finish. The material is harder than steel yet so brittle that it can be easily fractured to create clean, sharp edges ten times finer than modern scalpels.

20. LUSITANIA (Deck Chair)

"The best joke I've heard in many days, this talk of torpedoing." ~ William Turner, Captain of the Lusitania
"The best joke I've heard in many days, this talk of torpedoing." ~ William Turner, Captain of the Lusitania

On May 1st, 1915, the R.M.S. Lusitania departed from New York on a voyage to Liverpool with 1,959 passengers aboard, as well as munitions destined for the battlefields of the Great War. Though the Royal Navy had promised to escort the Lusitania for part of the journey, the escort never appeared. As one of the fastest ships in the world, this wasn't cause for alarm, but when the Lusitania entered Irish waters on May 7th it had to slow to navigate the foggy weather. A nearby German U-boat took advantage of this situation, torpedoing the ship twice which caused the hull to explode, and doomed 1,198 passengers.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from an oak deck chair which once graced the decks of the R.M.S. Lusitania. The chair was among the untold tonnes of flotsam and hundreds of bodies which washed ashore in Cobh, Ireland and was held on public display for decades. It was acquired at auction from Christie’s London office in late 2016.

21. WINSTON CHURCHILL (Fur Muff)

"Victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance." ~ Winston Churchill, January 15th, 1940
"Victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance." ~ Winston Churchill, January 15th, 1940

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a figure of tremendous importance in the first half of the 20th century. His long life straddled two very different centuries, a tumultuous period in which maps were redrawn and the world hovered several times on the brink of total annihilation.

Churchill held an ardent belief in the pre-eminence of Great Britain, and this would often guide his decisions and fuel his seemingly bottomless need for action. These two aspects of his person led Churchill to take positions which are difficult to reconcile favorably today. Yet, it was precisely such qualities which made Sir Winston the resolute leader the United Kingdom required during the dark years of the Second World War.

By the end of his life in 1965, Churchill had served nearly 64 years in parliament. He held numerous positions, including two turns as Prime Minister. Today, the "Bulldog of Britain" is considered by many to be one of the greatest Britons in history.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a section of a faux leopard-skin hand muff used for many years by Winston Churchill. Churchill was known to suffer from poor circulation in his later years, and often made use of a muff to keep his hands warm. This muff was purchased at auction in 2016 from Christie’s of London, and included a signed letter from Lady Soames, Churchill’s youngest daughter.

22. HOLLYWOOD SIGN

"Hollywood is a place you can't geographically define. We don't really know where it is." ~ John Ford, American Film Director, 1964
"Hollywood is a place you can't geographically define. We don't really know where it is." ~ John Ford, American Film Director, 1964

For nearly a century, the Hollywood sign has stood on the southern slope of Mount Lee overlooking the city of Los Angeles. The sign was originally built as a temporary advertisement for new homes in "Hollywoodland," but later became a bright beacon for those seeking stardom, and a symbol for the entertainment industry.

By the late-1970s, the sign had fallen into such disrepair that a complete replacement was required. The reconstruction was financed primarily by private fundraising efforts led by Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner. Hefner brought together an unlikely group of entertainers, from silver screen legend Gene Autry to theatrical shock rocker Alice Cooper, who each sponsored a letter in the new sign.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a two-piece fragment of the original Hollywood sign, salvaged during the 1978 reconstruction. It was acquired from the private collection of a retired Los Angeles sound engineer.

23. MANHATTAN PROJECT (Shield Window)

"To the men and women of the Manhattan Project and to all who aided them in their yet unparalleled achievement." ~ General Leslie Groves, dedication of "Now It Can Be Told", 1962
"To the men and women of the Manhattan Project and to all who aided them in their yet unparalleled achievement." ~ General Leslie Groves, dedication of "Now It Can Be Told", 1962

The Manhattan Project was the codename for the research and development effort which allowed the United States to rapidly develop a series of atomic breakthroughs during World War II, including the first industrial-scale plutonium production reactor and the first atomic bombs. This enormous project involved over one hundred thousand scientists, engineers, technicians, and construction workers at more than 30 sites across the United States, including well-known locations such as Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, Trinity, and Hanford.

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from a leaded glass window installed in the T Plant (221-T) Plutonium Recovery Building at Hanford. Plutonium processed at the Hanford T-Plant was used in both the Trinity test on July 16, 1945 and in the "Fat Man" atomic bomb used over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. The yellow color of the glass is due to a high concentration of lead-oxide (up to 70%), which blocks blue and near-UV spectral frequencies, and also gives the glass its protective qualities.

24. THE WHITE HOUSE (Brick)

"For the President’s House I would design a building which should also look forward but execute no more of it at present than might suit the circumstances of this country, when it shall first be wanted." ~ George Washington, March 8th, 1792
"For the President’s House I would design a building which should also look forward but execute no more of it at present than might suit the circumstances of this country, when it shall first be wanted." ~ George Washington, March 8th, 1792

Since John Adams took up residence on November 1st, 1800, every U.S. President has called the White House home. Not surprisingly, each resident has endeavored to leave their mark. Still, no matter who the occupant might be at any given time, or the changes they’ve made, the White House itself endures as a powerful symbol for the United States and the office of the Presidency.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment from a brick recovered during the extensive 1948-1952 renovation and expansion of the White House. This process generated an enormous amount of salvage material, some of which was used as landfill, but more attractive items became part of a popular public souvenir program designated by the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion.

25. MUHAMMAD ALI (PUNCHING BAG)

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want." ~ Cassius Clay, February 26, 1964
"I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want." ~ Cassius Clay, February 26, 1964

In 1964, a loud, handsome boxer from Louisville, Kentucky shocked the sporting world by beating the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. Ten days later, the new champion was introduced to the world by a new name: Muhammad Ali.

But Muhammad Ali was far more than a boxing legend. His conversion to Islam and association with the Nation of Islam became a lightning rod for opinion across the United States. Later, his opposition to the war in Vietnam and direct engagement with civil rights issues catapulted him into a world far beyond the ring. 

The specimen in the Mini Museum comes from a punching bag formerly used by Muhammad Ali. Known as a double-end or "crazy" bag, this particular type of punching bag is used to improve accuracy, speed, and endurance. The bag was gifted to a long-time sports commentator and friend of Muhammad Ali, and later purchased at auction by Mini Museum.

26. CONCORDE (JET ROTOR)

"I've always thought of the Concorde as a magical object, a symbol, a miracle." ~ Andrée Putman, legendary French Designer
"I've always thought of the Concorde as a magical object, a symbol, a miracle." ~ Andrée Putman, legendary French Designer

On January 1, 1976, the Concorde became the first supersonic commercial aircraft in history. For nearly thirty years, these magnificent aircraft cruised at altitudes twice as high as their subsonic counterparts, twice the speed of sound, and with ticket prices twice the price of their most expensive luxury rivals. 

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment from a flown, high-pressure compressor vane, an integral part of the four turbojet engines that allowed the Concorde to cruise above Mach 2. Produced by Britain's Rolls Royce and Snecma Moteurs of France, the Olympus 593 Mk 610 were the most powerful transport certified engines in the world at the time of their introduction.

27. ROUGH SAPPHIRE (Myanmar)

"Beauty is meaningless until it is shared." ~ George Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934
"Beauty is meaningless until it is shared." ~ George Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934

Dazzling and durable, sapphires are among the most popular gemstones in the world. They form very slowly inside cooling igneous and metamorphic rocks as metals seep into clear aluminum oxide crystals, changing their color. Traces of Titanium result in a blue hue while the presence of iron results in the color yellow. Any color except red is considered a sapphire, while red, indicating the presence of Chromium, is considered a ruby.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a rough sapphire from Myanmar's Mogok Metamorphic Belt, also known as the "Valley of Gems". Stretching over 930 miles (1500 km), this region has yielded some of the world’s greatest rubies, jade, and sapphires.

28. FIRST SPACE SHUTTLE (COLUMBIA FLOWN TILE)

"The Shuttle is to space flight what Lindbergh was to commercial aviation." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The Shuttle is to space flight what Lindbergh was to commercial aviation." ~ Arthur C. Clarke

On April 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia roared to life on the pad at the Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A. Solid rocket boosters and Columbia’s own engines delivered more than 6,600,000 pounds of thrust, lifting the crew of two and 4,500,000 pounds (2,000,000 kg) of dreams into orbit at more than 17,500 miles per hour (28,163 kmh). The successful launch and return of Columbia heralded a new age in space exploration.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a fragment of a mission flown High-Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation Tile (HRSI) that was once attached to the Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA disposition paperwork accompanying the tile indicates it was removed after Columbia’s 7th mission, STS-61-C, which flew on January 12, 1986.

29. HUMAN HEART

"The heart is of such density that fire can scarcely damage it." ~ Andrés de Laguna, Anatomica methodus, seu De sectione humani corporis contemplatio, 1535
"The heart is of such density that fire can scarcely damage it." ~ Andrés de Laguna, Anatomica methodus, seu De sectione humani corporis contemplatio, 1535

Man has understood the importance of the heart since as far back as the Greek Dark Ages when physicians like Hippocrates of Kos theorized about its purpose. The human heart is the first organ to develop in vitro. It is made of muscle tissue that works twice as hard as the muscles that support movement. Over the course of an average human life the heart will beat 2.5 billion times, and at death the heart is one of the last organs to stop functioning.

The specimen in the Mini Museum is a human heart recovered from a 74 year-old woman who passed away due to non-cardiac related natural causes. The heart was prepared by a laboratory which uses plastination techniques to preserve anatomical specimens for various exhibits and medical research purposes worldwide. Due to a mishap during preparation which caused a long tear along the surface of the left atrium, the heart was considered undesirable for most technical purposes.

Please Note: Additional information about all of the specimens and larger images of the Fourth Edition can be found on our website at minimuseum.com.

Thank you from Team Mini Museum! Front Row: Stephanie, Toby, Grant, Andrea, Jen, and Willie. Back Row: Chip, Hans, Bill, Max, and Jamie.
Thank you from Team Mini Museum! Front Row: Stephanie, Toby, Grant, Andrea, Jen, and Willie. Back Row: Chip, Hans, Bill, Max, and Jamie.

Risks and challenges

Since 2014, we've delivered thousands of Mini Museums to more than 70 countries around the world, so we have a good handle on the risks associated with the project. Still, creating a Mini Museum is an extremely complex process.

Each specimen in the Mini Museum has its own unique challenges, and the scale of the project may lead to unexpected delays. We've taken every step possible to mitigate potential issues while always keeping the focus on the quality of the end product. As with past projects, we plan to provide detailed and timely project updates to keep backers advised, informed, educated, and at times entertained.

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    PURE LOVE - FRIENDS OF MINI MUSEUM

    Backers at this level will receive the pure love and gratitude of Hans Fex and the Mini Museum Team. Follow our journey in bringing the Fourth Edition of the Mini Museum to the world!

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    AMAZON RIVER WATER VIAL

    A Vial of Amazon Water

    Estimated Shipping: Late September 2018

    A single vial of Amazon River water, identical to the specimen in the Mini Museum. Includes a detailed information card about the specimen and Hans' trip to Peru. A portion of the proceeds from this item will be donated to the Amazon Bee Project on behalf of all Mini Museum 4 backers.

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    MINI MUSEUM LARGE - BATCH 04

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    Estimated Shipping: Early December 2018

    29 Specimens. Limited edition and individually numbered. Hand-made and assembled using high-quality Acrylic. Each Mini Museum will ship with a custom micro-fiber pouch with the Mini Museum logo, a Certificate of Authenticity, custom designed packaging and a printed Companion Guide full of information and images about all of the specimens.

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    Estimated Shipping: Early-Mid December 2018

    29 Specimens. Limited edition and individually numbered. Hand-made and assembled using high-quality Acrylic. Each Mini Museum will ship with a custom micro-fiber pouch with the Mini Museum logo, a Certificate of Authenticity, custom designed packaging and a printed Companion Guide full of information and images about all of the specimens.

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    MINI MUSEUM LARGE - BATCH 01

    Early Bird FIRST BATCH

    Estimated Shipping: Late October 2018

    29 Specimens. Limited edition and individually numbered. Hand-made and assembled using high-quality Acrylic. Each Mini Museum will ship with a custom micro-fiber pouch with the Mini Museum logo, a Certificate of Authenticity, custom designed packaging and a printed Companion Guide full of information and images about all of the specimens.

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    MINI MUSEUM LARGE - BATCH 02

    Early Bird SECOND BATCH

    Estimated Shipping: Early November 2018

    29 Specimens. Limited edition and individually numbered. Hand-made and assembled using high-quality Acrylic. Each Mini Museum will ship with a custom micro-fiber pouch with the Mini Museum logo, a Certificate of Authenticity, custom designed packaging and a printed Companion Guide full of information and images about all of the specimens.

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    MINI MUSEUM LARGE - BATCH 03

    THIRD BATCH

    Estimated Shipping: Late November 2018

    29 Specimens. Limited edition and individually numbered. Hand-made and assembled using high-quality Acrylic. Each Mini Museum will ship with a custom micro-fiber pouch with the Mini Museum logo, a Certificate of Authenticity, custom designed packaging and a printed Companion Guide full of information and images about all of the specimens.

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    SHUTTLE EDITION: MM4 + HRSI COATING

    LARGE Mini Museum from the First Batch Plus Bonus Space Shuttle Tile Coating Specimen

    Estimated Shipping: Early November 2018

    This tier includes the Large Mini Museum at Early Bird ($279 USD) pricing plus a bonus specimen. The bonus specimen is the black, HRSI coating of the Space Shuttle Tile used in the Fourth Edition. This is an extremely limited edition item as we only have one tile. The tile coating fragment will come in a riker display box with an information card.

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    DC MUSEUM TOUR + CRAFT A MM WITH HANS

    Production LARGE Mini Museum from the First Batch, plus...

    A one of a kind personalized tour in Washington DC visiting the Smithsonian and other area attractions/museums of your choosing. Dinner with Hans and the Mini Museum staff. While at the Mini Museum Headquarters, you will construct your own personalized version of the Mini Museum.

    You are welcome to bring a friend. You will need to supply your own transport to Washington, DC and hotel with this reward.

    Trip date is flexible based on your schedule and Hans' availability. The Production LARGE Mini Museum will ship with the First Batch.

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