Small Talk Tag: Renovation

Toytisserie Turnout

toy sculptures

We put out the call, and metropolitan Kansas City answered! Earlier this fall, we placed collection barrels at several area libraries, businesses, and schools to collect an assortment of small toys needed for a monumental new sculpture at T/m that we’re calling the Toytisserie. After just a month of collecting, we ended up with nearly six 55-gallon collection barrels filled with toys!

In order to get an idea of what we’re working with, we first cleaned and sorted the barrels of toys with the help of our volunteers. We ended up with dozens of categories; from baby doll bottles to Barbie brushes and Lincoln Logs to LEGO people—hundreds of small toys will get a new lease on life as part of the two-story sculpture. A BIG thank you to the folks who donated as well as to the businesses and organizations that hosted a collection site. Stay tuned as the Toytisserie pieces come together!

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!

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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