National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

Cassie Mundt

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.

After an 18-month closure and $8 million in renovations, the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is ready to open its doors once again.  Community Development Director Cassie Mundt tells what it took to store the museum's 72,000 items and what visitors can now expect to see at the museum.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures reopens on Saturday, August 1, 2015 .

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Artist Sarah Lugg Regan is carefully gluing dolls to the back of a plastic Stegosaurus. Surrounded by buckets of toys in a sun-filled room in Epperson House on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City, Lugg Regan and her assistant Ben Breslow are working on a two-story sculpture for the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

When the museum reopens on August 1 after extensive renovations, this 150-foot "Toytisserie" — a rotating ribbon of metal covered by whimsical scenes of toys — will be in the lobby, greeting visitors.

The Importance Of Play

Apr 17, 2014
Mike Gonzalez

It's all fun and games until... well, until you learn a lesson. Of course, that's part of the point of fun and games. Central Standard was inspired by multimedia arts reporter Julie Denesha's reflection on her childhood dollhouse to do a show on the developmental significance of toys and play.

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.

flickr user dianecordell

Over the last decade, it's estimated nearly 30 toy and doll museums closed across the United States. The Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City provided an update yesterday on its capital campaign to sustain the museum and its collection.

cottonridge/Flickr

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.