Miniature Masterpieces at the Barn Museum

The Barn Museum in South Amana, Iowa, is home to 250 miniature masterpieces


| August 1999



Henry Moore's miniature reproduction of the Farm's Elevator at Cylinder, Iowa

Henry Moore's miniature reproduction of the Farm's Elevator at Cylinder, Iowa. The original building burned in the 1930s.

A 1913 horse barn in South Amana, Iowa, showcases what may be America's largest-known collection of miniatures created by one man. 

Henry Moore spent 15 years reproducing farm buildings in miniature: log cabins, a Southern plantation, a Northern California logging camp, and other old-time structures. Today, the Barn Museum exhibits approximately 250 miniature replicas built by Moore.

Moore began working with miniatures at age 58. His first project was a replica of a farm near Depew, Iowa, where he had lived. From then until his death in 1983, he spent most of his time building in the scale of 1 inch to 1 foot.

Soon, Moore's miniature masterpieces had filled his home in Marengo, Iowa. In 1976, Moore moved his miniatures into an old horse barn in South Amana, where he opened the Barn Museum.

The Amana Colonies were founded by True Inspirationists, a religious group with members from Germany, Switzerland and Alsace. Communal living in the colonies ended in 1932, but many of the large communal buildings still stand.

The 1913 horse barn, built with wooden pegs instead of nails, serves as an appropriate backdrop for Moore's miniature creations, which include the village of New Salem, Ill., where Lincoln once lived; an 1880 farmstead; the community of Cylinder, Iowa, as it appeared in the 1920s; a typical Amana village; and an Appalachian mountain home.