I have long been aware of the existence of souvenir miniature buildings.
Indeed I have a few of them myself. But until I started hunting for websites
I was unaware of just how big a subject this was and how seriously they are taken.
For the moment all I can do is provide some links to a selection of
websites on the subject. I hope however to return and do the subject more justice.
A good starting point is probably the website of the
Souvenir Building Collectors Society.
On their front page they define a souvenir building as "a three-dimensional,
miniature version of an actual building, monument, statue, bridge, dam etc.
Souvenir buildings trigger a memory of a building or a structure, a time,
a place, or perhaps a person." I'm not sure I entirely accept this as
a sufficient definition. There are many miniature buildings (especially in the
world of model railways) that are miniatures of an actual building but would not
normally be considered souvenirs. Does a miniature have to be consciously produced (commercially?)
as a souvenir to qualify?
Their last blog item, as I write this, from November 2019 is a discussion of whether charms
(as in charm bracelets) or spoon handles can qualify as souvenir miniatures. Which is not a
debate I have ever had but ....If you do an image search for 'bracelet charm building' you will
find there are lots of them.
Another site which might be of interest is
buildingcollector.com. The author 'Dave' says "This site
is a source for both new and established souvenir building collectors. A ‘building
community’ where collectors share information, knowledge and have fun.....[and can
come] for all of your souvenir building collecting news & information." He also
trades in metal souvenir buildings. There is some really interesting stuff in his blog.
There are clearly a lot of these miniatures about. At least two sites
(The Architect's newspaper
the New York Times)
report that earlier in 2019 an architect, David Weingarten, donated thousands of
building souvenirs to the US National Building Museum in Washington.
A very conventional souvenir, a modern piece modelling
the Beijing Olympic Stadium and
a most unusual piece with dual function.
These, and more, images have been made available
in Dropbox by the National Building Museum.
On that site, one of the images is a text page describing the displayed exhibits.