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Children’s Toy and Doll Museum opening this weekend

Pandemic closure offered time for cleaning, painting

Mabry O’Donnell shows off an elaborate dollhouse set up in the international room of the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum in Marietta. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

After being shuttered last summer due to the pandemic, the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum is opening this weekend for the season.

Diane Pfile, museum board vice-president, said spending the last year closed gave them an opportunity to do inventory and maintenance on the museum itself, including cleaning and painting.

When the doors open Saturday afternoon, there will be several new displays for visitors to enjoy, including a Disneyana exhibit, Gone with the Wind dolls and miniature architectural building collection, a Princess Diana Royal Wardrobe collection, a Presidential Pez collection, and a new Christmas and Transportation room.

Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children and $10 for immediate family members. Tour groups of 10 or more may be arranged by calling the museum at 740-373-5900.

“This year, when you walk around, you’ll be able to see that one of the new displays in this room is Gone With the Wind … dolls and architectural buildings that represent the movie itself,” explained Pfile. “We have antique and vintage toy trucks … transportation … which were models of trucks that were used to travel the highway. We call it Route 66.”

Miniatures of Disney characters are part of the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum’s Disneyana exhibit. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

She said another extensive collection is Disneyana, which is on loan from two local residents who had been collecting Disney items for years.

There is also a brand new collection of Presidential Pez candy dispensers on display in the museum’s library.

“Now another one that we just added was through a donation that we received. It’s the Princess Diana royal wardrobe collection,” recalled Pfile.

Board member Kathy Eckert said the collection consists of reproductions of outfits from Princess Diana’s wardrobe.

“We have the cards to go with the articles of clothing,” said Eckert.

A 3 Little Pigs tea set is part of a Disneyana exhibit at the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum in Marietta. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

The cards are numbered and give a description of the clothing and when Princess Diana wore them.

Board member Mabry O’Donnell said a new addition for young people is a tree decorated with Muffy Vanderbears.

“Muffy bears were really popular about 1988 or 1992 and our daughter got one when she went off to college,” recalled O’Donnell. “That’s how I knew about Muffy bears. We’ve had someone donate this marvelous collection.”

She said the person who donated the bears worked at the factory where they were manufactured, so the bears are first editions.

“Our idea was let’s just make a Muffy tree, so we bought a more straight up and down tree and we now have a Muffy bear tree,” O’Donnell said. “At first, I think some of my colleagues thought I was a little strange, but once you see what it is, you can understand. I know it makes me smile, so I’m hoping it will make little children smile.”

Antique and vintage trucks are set up in an exhibit on the main floor of the Children’s Toy and Doll Museum in Marietta. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

¯ Upcoming events

There are several projects in the works for the museum, as it missed a year of fundraising last year due to COVID.

“We really had to watch our pennies,” Pfile said. “This year we’re back to having our first yard sale on July 31. It’s going to be in conjunction with the Marietta Main Street West for West Harmar Days.”

She said she’s unaware of the particulars of the event, as it is still in the planning stages, but they will have the yard sale regardless.

“That gives our community another opportunity to come out and support us because everything that we have in our yard sale will be brought in through donations,” said Pfile.

The museum will also be part of the American Duchess and American Queen tours this summer.

The American Duchess boat tours will be coming into Marietta on June 12 and June 16, while the American Queen will visit Marietta on July 3 and 7.

“We’re going to have a Peoples Bank window display. We’ll be displaying some of our antique and vintage toys in there, kind of advertising ourselves,” Pfile said. “We thought that would be a perfect opportunity, because people are coming into town.”

She said the bank was gracious enough to have the museum’s decorations up from June 4 through July 8.

The ladies are excited about having generations of people visiting the museum again this year.

“It’s multi-generational. It’s the same for the parents and grandparents and of them bring their grandkids with them,” explained Pfile. “To hear the three generations speak about what it was like for grandpa, or what it was like for Dad, and then you hear, ‘oh, I had that toy.’ It opens up that conversation. That’s what a museum is. It should bring out the conversation.”

***

If You Go:

¯ Who: Children’s Toy and Doll Museum.

¯ What: Season opening.

¯ When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 31.

¯ Where: 206 Gilman Ave., Marietta.

¯ Cost: $4 for adults, $2 for children and $10 for immediate family members.

Source: Children’s Toy and Doll Museum.

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