By Linda Dillman
The Mid-Ohio Historical Doll and Toy Museum in Canal Winchester is celebrating more than three decades of operation with a new Pop Culture display featuring dolls familiar to 21st century children and their parents.
“The room was an idea for this season to make it a little more contemporary,” said museum Executive Director Henrietta Pfeifer. “Girls come in here with their mothers and see dolls with which they can relate. Everybody enjoys this room.”
Pfeifer said it took three months to prepare the new displays, including a case devoted to American Girl dolls incorporating period furniture and accessories.
A stage features artists such as Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, KISS and Frank Sinatra and their music. The entire cast of the “Twilight” movies in doll form is visible behind glass and a display lined with dolls from contemporary movies such as “Frozen,” “Shrek,” “Monsters, Inc.” and the “Muppets” sits nearby.
“We have dolls in this display from the 1960s through today,” said Pfeifer, who runs the 6,000-square-foot museum Wednesday through Saturday with the help of a volunteer staff, including “Doll Doctor” Sharon Marion who designed some of the new displays. “There’s also a little fun area where children can play with a tea party set or a furnished dollhouse. The room also includes one of the finest collections of Shirley Temple dolls, almost all are in mint condition.”
Exiting the Pop Culture room visitors can see thousands of dolls and toys dating from the 1600s to the present day. Case after glass case features mass-produced dolls such as Barbie, GI Joe, Strawberry Shortcake, Cabbage Patch and Disney characters, alongside trains, singular artist-created dolls and rare porcelain works from the Victorian age.
Three rooms are dedicated to the circus featuring handmade wagons housing fearsome creatures, acrobats in motion and animals performing under the big top.
“That’s what makes our place so special,” said Pfeifer, “all the little vignettes children can relate to. A lot of thought goes into our displays. Older people enjoy seeing the dolls and toys as much as the children.”
Helen Charlton, 93, toured the museum for the first time after dropping off her 85-year-old doll to be repaired. She called the museum “beyond description” and said it was impossible to recount the number of dolls she saw on display.
The Mid-Ohio Historical Doll and Toy Museum, 700 Winchester Pike, is open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $3 and children under six are admitted free. The museum also offers doll repair, refurbishing and appraisal. For information, call 837-5573.