Small Talk / Museum

A Fresh Coat

the national museum of toys and miniatures renovation

It’s getting chilly out there, which means it’s just about time to march up to the attic or reach into the depths of your closet to unpack your winter coat. At T/m, we are treating ourselves to a brand new one this year- a fresh coat of paint that is! Throughout the month of November, painting crews have been spraying the exterior of the museum building a color called “Natural Cream.” Other ornate details will be come “Cottage Red.”

We hope the fresh new colors help the building “pop” and look more inviting. With much of the work on the exterior wrapping up for the winter, we’re gearing up for the daunting task of setting up the museum’s interior and exhibits. Stay warm and stay tuned for details!

Happy Birthday to Us!

national museum toys miniatures kansas city mo

Thirty-one was a big year for the museum, and we are confident that thirty-two will be even bigger! Although the museum didn’t get married (that’s just silly talk, institutions can’t get married), we did legally change our name to The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. The name change reflects the quality and scope of the collection and the future direction of the museum’s exhibits, programming, and research.

During our thirty-second year, we’ll be re-opening The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures with new exhibits, including a brand new museum introduction and a two-story toy sculpture in the museum lobby. We’re pretty excited and we hope you are too. Stay tuned here, and on Pinterest and Facebook for sneak peeks as the progress continues!

We’re Under Construction

national museum of toys and miniatures renovation

After many months of planning and packing, the museum staff have relocated our administrative offices to a temporary location and turned the building over to the construction company for renovations to begin! We offered them all of our toy dump trucks and erector sets; not surprisingly, they declined.

While most of the collection went into storage, we saved several pieces for exhibition down the street at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Starting July 2, you can catch our world-class objects amongst some of Kansas City’s other great objects. Look closely! A few of T/m’s miniatures are replicas of work in the Nelson-Atkins’s permanent collection.

The staff will be around town too; look for us at Maker Faire this weekend, June 28-29, at Union Station. We’ll see you then!

Where Did It Go?

Coleman dollhouse move

If you’ve been watching T/m’s Facebook page, then you know that the Colemans have moved out of their gigantic homestead. But this isn’t just any normal move; after every last item was lovingly packed, it was time to move the house. How do you move a nine-foot tall, seven-foot wide dollhouse?! The same way you would a real house: take it apart piece by piece (and mark each one very well), load it on a truck with a “Oversize Load” sign (ours fit in a U-Haul), and take it to its new location (in our case, temporary storage).

Lucky for us, Julie Denesha with KCUR Kansas City Public Media documented the move: check it out! If you can’t get enough of Coleman House, don’t miss T/m’s spotlight on Antiques Roadshow Monday, April 7 at 7pm CST where Coleman House serves as the backdrop for the appraiser’s analysis of two of our dollhouses.

Moving Day

museum collection moving

Every day is moving day (kind of like Groundhog Day) when you have 72,000 objects to move! We’ve been busy at T/m preparing for renovations and planning ahead for what comes after… like the new collection section on the museum website, new exhibitions, and new marketing materials. In January, T/m welcomed Darryl Bernstein and Kayte Price to photograph some of our objects. The results look great! We look forward to featuring them here.

Then it was back to packing. While we wish we could throw everything in a box and mark it “Kitchen” (which is totally what some of the staff will be doing with their offices), it takes a long time to carefully and lovingly pack and track each toy soldier, doll accessory, and miniature dining set.

Where can you store a museum’s worth of precious collection objects? Kansas City has some wonderful, natural storage locations with the perfect climate conditions for preserving objects: caves! But, they’re not your typical stalactite and stalagmite, bat-filled, dark, damp enclosures. These caves are spotless and a perfect temporary home for our objects. It’s very sad to watch the display cases slowly empty, but the changes taking place during the renovation will ensure an appropriate environment for the collection’s preservation and enjoyment for future generations.

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