D.D. Smalley’s Hyde Park Miniature Museum, based in Houston, Texas, features a collection of pencil stubs, radio tubes, telescope lenses, arrowheads, postage stamps, cucumber seed, costumed fleas and found on the Capital Grounds in Washington DC . . . a petrified mastodon tooth.

The items in the museum were collected by David David Smalley.  He was a mapmaker for the South Pacific Railroad, a job that required keen observation, a stead hand, and patience.  He was our kind of guy.

Smalley was an avid collector, as well as an amateur scientist, inventor, and folk artist. He carefully assembled all that he collected, labelled each item in precise, impeccable lettering. You can see pictures of Smalley here.

His parents named him David David, once for his grandfather and once for his uncle. In this description of him and his museum, we call him Smalley. We would have referred to him as David, but we were not sure which David he would have preferred: the David from his grandfather or the David from his uncle.  Calling him David David would have looked strange: so we called him Smalley.

The museum was in the attic of Smalley’s house. It was opened to the public on weekend until Smalley’s death, at the age of 73, in 1958. In the 1970s, Frank Davis, Smalley’s grandson, reopened the attic museum. The first task was to clean off decades of dust. In a gesture Smalley would certainly have approved of, the dust was saved in a jar.

You can read even more about it in a newspaper article here.