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Arts & Life

Kansas City's Toy And Miniature Museum Reopens After Year-Long Renovation

The worn, forlorn Teddy bear clearly misses the little girl with him in the photograph from nearly 110 years ago. Mable was her name.

But more little girls will be coming now. Kansas City's Toy and Miniature Museum is open again.

After a year of renovation and redesign, the National Toy and Miniature Museum at 5235 Oak reopened Saturday.

Visitors to the redesigned exhibits will be greeted by a two-story lighted, rotating spiral tower of toys as they decide whether to start their tour with the toys displayed on the second floor or the miniatures and doll houses on the entry level.

Museum Community Development Director Cassie Mundt says many come to see the toys but leave entranced by the miniatures. She says people are absolutely fascinated that it was possible to craft the dollhouses and tiny furnishings and accessories so accurately, so functional, though miniscule.

To attest to that there are dollhouses like the Georgian mansion not far from the museum front door that have tiny doorknobs and latches that actually work and windows that open. The real-looking book on the table or dinner plate in the sideboard are so small they could be displayed atop a postage stamp.

Not all the doll houses are that small.  Two are built on a scale perhaps ten times larger. One stands eight feet tall at the third-story gables.

The museum has 72,000 individual toy and miniature items, and many of them are toys.

The oldest doll dates to circa 1750, and there are dolls galore, wind-up toys from the early 1900s, a “Buck Rogers" ray gun, World War II vintage cap guns and cowboy accessories, marionettes, wooden toys, metal toys, plastic toys and so on.

The “Iconic Toys” exhibits include familiar faces like Barbie and Ken, GI Joe and numerous cartoon character immortalized in plastic or plush and stuffing.

The museum reopens with two temporary exhibits, Pedal to the Medal: Pedal Cars and American Car Culture and Messengers of Goodwill: The 1927 Japanese Friendship Doll Exchange.

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