Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle
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Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle—a nearly 9-foot fairy dream home of fantastic proportions—was completed in 1935 by silent film star Colleen Moore and is filled with remarkable miniatures and artifacts collected from celebrities, artisans and craftspeople around the world. The Fairy Castle structure, which took seven years and cost $500,000 at the time to create, is located in the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world.
Colleen Moore was a silent film star in Hollywood during the 1920s, and her position as one of the most popular actresses gave her the resources to make a childhood dream become a reality. She owned several elaborate doll houses as a child, but later in life, her father suggested she should pursue her passion for miniatures and doll houses by creating one of her own. In 1928, she began the plans for a majestic dream home. She enlisted architect and set designer for First National Studios, Horace Jackson, to create the floor plan and layout, while art director and interior designer Harold Grieve, who had redesigned Colleen Moore’s mansion, assisted with the interiors. Between 1928 and 1935, about 100 people worked on the Fairy Castle.
In 1935, Moore organized a national tour of the Fairy Castle to raise money for children’s charities, and it stopped in the toy departments of major cities’ department stores. In 1949, Major Lenox Lohr, president of MSI, convinced Moore to have the Fairy Castle make one final stop at the Museum, where it has become a favorite permanent exhibit, visited by millions and loved by generations for the remarkable creativity and imagination it represents.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education, MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District.
Come visit the museum at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, IL 60637. MSI is open 9:30–4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods.For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.