Musings on Museum Movings
Yesterday finished cleaning and emptying the old museum. I will miss that space, cozy and in the hub of our College Hill, nee Hilltop neighborhood. My friends Michelle, Diane and their shop Vintage Rose made it all possible, along with Mr. Joe K, the best landlord in the world. Jorje, our friend and colleague, did our graphics, and our friend and colleague Loey brought visitors and lots of moral support.
We had an amazing ribbon cutting on
We now are moving into our new building, with dolls, toys, books, models, miniatures, vintage clothing, paper dolls, trains, paper airplanes, and other childhood memorabilia emerging from the wood work of their various secure, secret locations. Except, of course, for those that were moving from the old museum to the new.
We’ve had more than our share of challenges as a non-profit in the Covid 19 era, but so have so many of the rest of us, we soldier on. My husband and my cousins Steve and Lisa moved our cabinets and cases to our new facility, and did it in just under 3.5 hours! Our friends Frankie and Marylou have been awesome in helping us to get the building ready, and my friend Kathy helped me pack up dolls to take.
My only regret is that Aunt Connie and my Mom aren’t here to
see this, and my Dad and uncles who provided so many of the dolls and other
things. My Uncle Tom was an artist who quickly learned doll repair. He brought me at least one doll every weekend
My Dad brought dolls from all his travels, and drove us to antique malls, yard sales, and dolls shows. He built doll houses and doll shelves, and showed great tolerance when a Barbie case would open in the middle of O’Hare airport, spilling it’s contents, or when a doll hat blew out the window and certain six year old cried all the way to Albuquerque.
My mother was my “doll buddy” and partner in crime. She went to look for dolls when I was in school and couldn’t go, and she dressed them and fixed them, and knitted for them. Every Christmas a doll would go missing till Christmas Even when she/he would emerge with a new outfit.
She and I decorated our red doll house mansion that Dad created, called Plantagenet House. We made all kinds of accessories, and Mom made curtains, rugs, and bedspreads. She crocheted miniature rugs that emulated the larger one’s her grandmother used to make, and knitted tiny pillows and comforters.
My parents made it possible for me to buy this building, our former branch library. They let me keep dolls at their house, and encouraged me all the years I planned this project. I miss them very much, and never dreamed I would launch this project as an orphan, but here I am. But for my cousins and one aunt by marriage, I have no other family, my husband and our son notwithstanding.
The library itself was one of our favorite places. My husband and I often rode bikes there to check out books and to grab a bottle of pop from the old machine that was once outside. I bought many books as gifts at the used book store there, and I lectured about dolls to The Friends of the Library. I used to dream the library housed dolls as well as books, and well, dreams to come true.
We hope to be open Halloween, but barring that, Small Business Saturday. We have a lot of work to do, including enclosing shelves in glass and setting up our gift shop. I’ve spent nearly every day since August 7 moving carloads and cartloads of times, packing, setting up triage for things that need repair, doing paperwork, and drinking a lot of water and Gatorade. It’s exhausting, and I keep getting hurt or tripping over something. I’m deep cleaning at home after I move dolls from there, and try to keep living in general against current restrictions and a Derecho storm that nearly finished our trees.
Losing my aunt unexpectedly mid June, just after both our birthdays was unbearable. I miss her; she lived with us and planned to work in the museum setting up doll houses. She loved the old museum and was in the ribbon cutting, too. She often chose a doll or two to take home for awhile, so she could do their hair. Her death devastated us, but I try to move forward.
You have to keep going.
Our collection represents prehistory to the present, from
every corner of the globe and beyond. We
have dolls that were in other museums, rare antiques, and contemporary
trends. We feature paper airplanes from
the collection of Dr. Roald Tweet,
We will have a complete library of doll and doll related books, including some I have written, as well as other classic books and the former county law library. For our modest admission, you can come and spend the day reading and enjoying the dolls. There will be some interactive activities for kids as well.
We appreciate monetary donations made out to the museum, but will charge a modest admission to help keep us going: $3 adults, $2 seniors and veterans, $1 children under 12. We will have special days for donations only admission, or free days in honor of certain events.
Our new address will be
We still have our Dr. E’s Doll Museum Blog and our Facebook
page by that name, but we have a Facebook page American Doll and
Via social media or live, I look forward to meeting everyone. We’ll observe Covid 19 precautions and will require masks when we do open.
Please be patient, good things are following.