In search of the smallest museum in the world
Years ago, we drove across Arizona on US Highway 60, and after hours of agave, mesquite, and thorny acacia, stopped off in Superior. Ground squirrels, Harris hawks, and lizards were everywhere in this Arizona backwater.
The town also offered a museum that claims to be the smallest in the world, which is actually a piece of arrant self-delusion. The Superior museum turned out to be about as exciting as the Cawker City Twine-A-Thon, but did encourage us to start combing Europe for even smaller museums.
A Parisian contender
What about the tiny Paris apartment which was the one-time home of eccentric French composer Erik Satie? Open only by appointment, the one room where Satie spent most of the last twenty-seven years of his life not only has real content (and lots of it), but it also affords insights into the mind of a man who gave his compositions bizarre names like “Préludes flasques pour un chien” (Drivelling preludes for a Dog) and “Trois Morceaux en forme de Poire” (Three pear-shaped pieces).
The Musée-Placard d’Erik Satie is packed in just the way that Satie left it when he departed this world. He owned two pianos, one kept on top of the other, a hundred umbrellas, and he was an inveterate collector of clothes, bric-a-brac, and correspondence.
But the winner is… in Macedonia!
But even better (and smaller) is a truly diminutive museum in Macedonia in the village of Dzepciste just north of Tetovo. Oddly enough, Dzepciste has that same kind of frontier feel about it as Superior in Arizona. Dzepciste is an outback place of rugged faces, cautious smiles, and expressive simplicity. Plus one fabulous museum devoted to local history and ethnography with more than a thousand artifacts that document two millennia of Macedonian civilization.
With a total exhibition space of just seven square meters, visitor rules are strict: no more than one person at a time is allowed to visit. And, best of all for Cheapos, it is absolutely free. It is no bad thing, though, to leave a donation to support the work of the locals who have, over many years, developed this fine diminutive attraction.