Doll Museum 2017-08-10T12:26:06+00:00

Doll Museum

Open Tuesday – Friday: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m

Effective 1/1/2014: Admission is $2.00 for a self guided tour. Group tours or special group tours for Girl Scouts or children are also available for $3.00/person. Group tours can be scheduled for weekdays or the weekend. .

The museum features a distinguished collection of 19th and 20th century dolls.

  • Parian bisques: The fine unglazed china bisque heads of these dolls resemble Grecian parian marble. The molded heads have elaborate hairdos, usually blonde and are often decorated with bows, flowers and neck frills.
  • French fashion models: These beautiful dolls have real hair wigs, elaborate costumes and all the accessories a lady of the late 1800’s might desire.
  • Milliner’s models: These slender French dolls model fashions sent as miniature examples to England and America to show the latest fashions.
  • French bebes: “Juvenile” dolls such as a French bebe by Jumeau, Armand Marseilles or Charles Marsh reflect the recognition of childhood and its own fashions and toys.
  • Portrait dolls: An assortment of the famous, including the fashion setting Empress Eugenie of France (wife of Emperor Napolean III), Countess Dagmar of Denmark (married to Czar Alexander III), French artist Rosa Bonheur and Alice in Wonderland
  • American dolls:  Our diverse collection includes a doll with a papier mache head and a homemade body by Ludwig Greiner, a Joel Ellis doll made in 1873 from rock maple, jointed, with pewter hands and feet and an excellent example of a doll by Izannah Walker with its adorable painted fabric face and original clothing.
  • We also have dolls as small as 1” tall, dolls made with rubber, wood, wax and even a doll made from a wishbone.
  • A special display case holds the Japanese Hina Matsuri, including the emperor, empress and their court. It was presented to the City of Worthington by its sister city Sayama, (Japan), a town renowned for doll making.

The Doll Museum also features rotating exhibits.

Current Exhibition“Rag Time”

RAG TIME, the story of cloth dolls from the late 1700s to World War II, is a fascinating look at homemade dolls, dolls made at home from printed materials, and dolls that were designed by makers who patented their creations and produced them for little girls’ play.  The rag dolls made by children and their families at home were made from leftover fabrics and might be stuffed with cotton, sawdust or any readily available material.

With the rise of industries and mechanization, a social change began to recognize the era of development we now call “childhood”; a change from children being regarded as miniature adults.  Toys and dolls proliferated, and at home women experimented with the design of huggable, sometimes washable, possibly indestructible, but most of all lifelike dolls. We now label these dolls as cottage industry dolls, and perhaps the most iconic is one known to us as the face of our Doll Museum, made by Izannah Walker.  Our doll, “Thankful” was made in Rhode Island of stockinette that was painted.  Her distinctive ringlet curls and original clothing made by the Walker sisters make her a wonderful example.

In the exhibit are examples of American and English dolls that were made through the 1930s.  Some are known by the names of the church groups who made them for charity sales, such as the Moravian and Presbyterian rag dolls. The Columbian is so named because designer Emma Adams’ doll, named Miss Columbia, toured the world to benefit children’s charities.  Other cloth dolls are unique creations, made by ingenious designs that were patented by the women who created them.  Also included are the highly successful Kathe Kruse and Lenci dolls and others inspired by them. Please come and enjoy all!



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