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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Museum Update; Three weeks into the Fray!


Happy Fall, finally, though it has been unseasonably warm.  Rain today is more de rigueur, and the temps will begin to fall midweek.  It’s a quiet week for us; no appointments that I know of, just house cleaning and museum work.


We have had a great three weeks of visits; we are open Saturday at 11.  General admission is 5.00 per person, but 4.00 for seniors, 1.00 for kids twelve and other.  Our visiting children have been not only well behaved and cooperative, but also curious and enthusiastic.  They ask very intelligent questions, and are very pleased with our Story Mountain.  When I clean the glass, I see the imprints of little hands pressed up against the glass, which means they really, really like it!


I find that while our antiques attract many appreciative glances, the real stars for our visitors are the Barbies, the Polly Pockets display, our bears, our plush characters like Tweety, Mickey Mouse, and Sylvester, our Statler and Waldorf figures, Story Mountain, and our robots.  They evoke memories of favorite childhood toys, family trips, childhood memories, and all around good times.  Many visitors are also interested in toys and dolls portrayed in books.  Our extensive library attracts a lot of attention.  Those who want to use our books are free to do so without paying admission.  Those who do pay admission can stay all day.  We have comfortable chairs donated by The Planetary Studies Foundation, who also provided most of our glass cases, and great recliners gifted to us by the library.


We are non profit, and very grateful for donations given to us.  At this point, we don’t buy dolls or toys.  In the rare instance that we do, we have to go through our Board of Directors.  As a non profit, we live on donations, and need them to maintain our building grounds, which are kept beautiful thanks to J. Cooper of CMS Snow, who is also a generous donor and good friend to us.


Thanks to all of our generous donors and patrons.  We do sell memberships to the museum, beginning at 25.00 for an individual.  Please contact us at for more information.


On other dolly fronts, I attended a doll how last week, but did not set up.  I received My Little Pony and Polly Pockets donations, and purchased beautiful art dolls of  Tad Lincoln and Alice Roosevelt, nice editions to our presidential case which includes a doll owned by Fanny Hayes, Rutherford B. Hayes’ daughter, and a George III wooden.


I finished the first draft of another book, which took 17 years to complete, and began preliminaries on another.  One is law related, but don’t be surprised if a doll doesn’t pop up.  The other deals primarily with jewelry and personal adornment.  I also dusted off a novel set in Henry VIII’s England and the present day.


For photos of things we love, check out, please, our many Pinterest Boards, two sets, under my name.  Also, I have done a lot of pinning for others, especially under Ruby Lane dolls.


Unfortunately, not all of our friends are happy for us.  A pen pal of long standing, who is also an artist, collector, author and dealer, has been writing me letters containing a series of derogatory comments.  He also tries to take credit for what little victories we’ve had writing and publishing.  The latest was his declaration that his dolls, really huge mannikins of long forgotten silent movie stars, really need to go to a museum, but not one that has Barbie, CPKs, vinyl dolls, tourist dolls, or other dolls he considers to be
“trash”.  He wants a museum run by educated people, in place to educate people about dolls like his.


I’m going to wish him luck in my next letter.  Some of us mellow with age, but others, well, can get mean and enjoy undermining others.  I try to stay away from negativity, and I try to lift his spirits to no avail.  He still works at writing, and is in good physical shape.  But everything else is criticism, doom, and gloom.  I feel sorry for him.  I have sent him little gifts of lace, trims, books, once a VCR and they all fall short.  He takes comfort in his animals, and is taking care of a wounded bird, so there is kindness in his nature, but I don’t handle nay saying very well.


The last six years or so have been misery and hell, with six deaths in my family, and many others of my friends.  Some on the same day.  I dread November.  Before that, I lost my mother, perhaps the worst of all, dealt with all kinds of my health issues, my husband’s, a difficult and toxic workplace, and many disappointments, lost of pets, and other professional blows. I managed to get six books published, some eBooks, won a couple poetry prizes, found antique dolls of my dreams, and reconnected with grade school friends and distant cousins.  I dealt with my dad’s family in Europe, who isn’t easy to deal with, and somehow, I heard my mother saying to keep going, to move on.


What I got was this museum.   It is 24/7 work, but our mission is to preserve, curate, and educate.   There are not many toy and doll museums left; I was reading about Shankar’s International Doll Museum in New Delhi, India, and learned that Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, were instrumental in getting the museum started.  Now I must look for the Peggy Nisbet portrait of her.  The museum has around 7000 dolls from all over the world, including some Nehru gave.  Some are “tourist dolls.”  The Strong National Museum of Play has similar tourist and souvenir items, as did the Museo de las Americas in Madrid, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.


The Greek tourist dolls began my collection.  My mother’s family brought them from trips all over the world, after they came home safely from WWII, where they were trapped for 8 years in Greece.    When they returned, they pretty much ahd nothing, and their family here thought they were dead.  Their souvenirs were an affirmation of life, and those dolls and other artifacts are










now safe with us, testament to my family.


In many ways, the museum is a love letter to my family.  I also have given homes to dolls beloved of others in my community.  Mrs. Irene Robinson, one of our donors, passed away recently.  Her dolls are lovely porcelain collectibles from the 80s and 90s.  She loved them, and was very happy her dolls were with us.  Even these modern porcelains that many doll divas sneer at, have a place in doll history.  Their owners loved them, too, and want them to last for prosperity.  We do not sell our donations, and we rotate our doll displays, so these and other loved, even bedraggled dolls are safe with us.


Please visit our various Social Media, some under my name.  Please contact us with questions.  We’d love to hear your doll stories.  If you love miniatures, literature, French and German antiques, artist dolls, vintage dolls, Barbie, plush, models, Little Lulu, Buster Brown, comics, John Deere, political memorabilia, and international dolls and more, we’re your place.  Come visit our “doll house” complete with gift shop and library, housed in a historic former library and firehouse, surrounded by native plants, trees, and beautiful flowers!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

American Doll and Toy Museum is Open!!

 Yes, it's true!  Our preview was a smash, and our regular hours for a while will be Saturdays 11-3 or by appointment. We welcome groups and well supervised children, e.g, the Scouts, Sunday Schools, school children, home schoolers. 

Admission is $5 per person, for the time being, with children under 12 free.  There will be days for special admissions, e.g., half price, donations only, free days, days where you bring a can for the food pantry and $1.

We also have memberships as follows, with membership cards issued:

Annual Memberships:

25.00 per year individual for one year's visit to museum and programs

35.00 per year for families

100.00 annual patron, for self and family members with a 65.00 donation

Friends of the Museum Donations

Marque    Those who donate 1000.00 or more

Huret       Those who donate 500.00 or more

Bru           Those who donate 100.00 or more

Heubach   Those who donate 75.00 or more

Marseille  Those who donate 50.00 or more

Kestner     Those who donate 25.00 or mroe

We welcome donations, especially monetary, because we have to maintain the building and pay utilities.  As many of you know, it isn't cheap, and like other small businesses, we have been hit hard by Covid.

All of our proceeds go to maintaining the museum, all items donated to us stay with the museum.

When contacting us about dolls or toys, please think if you are donating (we are a not for profit organization), selling, or wanting appraisals.

I don't by dolls per se because I need to check with our board, and because we need the money for our expenses.   

Appraisals are $50 per doll.

We are always happy to accept donations.

The Museum has a gift shop of nice costume jewelry, toys, books, old postcards, doll related items, and toys. Again, all proceeds go to the museum.

Thanks to the many kind folks who have donate to us.  If you gave us dolls or toys, they are here safe with us.

We hope to see you soon! 


Executive Director

Monday, September 6, 2021

Preview Opening American Doll and Toy Museum


Preview Opening American Doll and

Toy Museum


3059 30th Street

Rock Island, IL 61201


September 17, 2021 4 pm to 7 pm

September 18, 2021 11 am to 3pm


Special Half Priced Admission:  2.50


Come see us and hear about our

Future plans!

Masks Required



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dolls really are Everywhere!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dolls really are Everywhere!:  No kidding, watch the Lemon Aid ads for male ED; in the background is an Ashanti fertility doll.  The same doll appears on the set of Will ...

Monday, July 19, 2021

American Doll and Toy Museum Update


I thought it might be time for an update.  Our museum progresses, and we only have one case to move in.  I’m creating labels with my intern, Larissa, who is enthusiastic, intelligent, and very helpful.  We finished loading an Alice themed case, and a case with artist and other dolls donated by our friend Harriet Brinker, which is also our tribute to the UFDC.


We have finished a case of primarily china heads, and another with antiques and some of our Shirley Temples.


Many friends have visited us while we are in progress to offer moral support, which is always appreciated.  I work here 7 days a week, and it is often a lot of cleaning, moving heavy things, and basically, hot work.  We do have air conditioning, but I am still going in and out a lot.


Also caring for our flowers and lawn, with the help of J. Cooper of CMS Snow, who is also a generous donor.


I’ve loaded a gorgeous baby carriage from Jan Walker with reborns from the Ann Sheley collection, and also have a great alpine German doll house with furnishings from my neighbor, Suzie Crawford.


We are working on a grant with Larissa, and my husband setup Square for our gift shop, memberships, and admission.


Our admission will be $5 with $3 for Seniors and Veterans and $1 kids under 12.  We will also have days where admission will be free.  We always appreciate donations in our jar, though they are not expected.


Our toys are arriving, too.  We are hanging model airplanes and puppets from the ceiling, and we hope to host a car show with a special viewing display of our own pedal cars, Hot Wheels and other toy cars and boats.


Our board game display is also taking shape, and we will be adding computer games.  I’m hoping to get to the toy museum in Branson in the fall for inspiration, too.


Happy Collecting!  Thanks for following us!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

I'm on Patrick Miner's Podcast!

Children play alongside Cultural Anthropology