National Museum of Toy and Miniatures

Julie Denesha / KCUR

On my fourth birthday, my grandfather gave me a dollhouse. It was a yellow, two-floor house that he built in his basement workshop in Kansas City, Kan. The dollhouse had six rooms and came with an assortment of handmade furniture, painted floors and wallpaper in nearly every room.

I was thrilled by the gift and I played with the dollhouse, constantly moving my dolls from room to room, creating little dramas in my young mind. My dolls talked on the tiny rotary phone, ate breakfast in the kitchen and slept in their neatly-appointed bedrooms.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, Mo., houses one of the largest toy collections on public display in the United States. In January, the museum closed its doors for a yearlong renovation, but the work inside continues. 

One of the star attractions of the collection is the Coleman dollhouse. The largest dollhouse in the museum's collection, it measures 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide and once belonged to the wealthy Coleman family from Lebanon, Pa.


Thirty years ago, the Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City opened its doors, with a display of dollhouses, toys, and miniatures mostly collected by two Kansas City women.