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Celebrating life, legacy of Barbara Marshall

Barbara Marshall with miniature displays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (T/m) remembers the life and legacy of Barbara Marshall, the museum’s co-founder and a great patron of fine-scale miniature artists.

In childhood, Marshall loved small things and often looked forward to getting the “smallest” present from her father, J.C. Hall. In the 1950s, Marshall discovered the gallery of Eric Pearson and acquired her first fine-scale miniature, a rocking chair. By the 1970s, she was a serious collector.
She collected only the highest quality and often commissioned works from artists who could meet her standards. Setting aside her personal stylistic preferences, Marshall encouraged artists to create their dream works of fine-scale miniature art. Her patronage allowed many artists the opportunities to explore the boundaries of the art form.

In 1982 Marshall co-founded the Miniature Museum of Kanas City (now The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures). The museum was a continuation of Marshall’s work to recognize fine-scale miniatures as an art form. Today, the collection that Marshall built is the largest collection of fine-scale miniatures in the world.

“The museum’s fine-scale miniature galleries highlight the legacy of Barbara’s love of art and the people who created it,” said T/m Executive Director Petra Kralickova. “We are honored to continue her passion for sharing art with the public through the collection, programs, and exhibits.”

Marshall retired from the museum in 2010, leaving a great legacy in the fine-scale miniature art movement. In 2017, the Barbara Marshall Award for Artistic Achievement was presented during Miniature Masterworks, the first-ever juried showcase of fine-scale miniature work held in Kansas City. This award continues Marshall’s legacy in nurturing creativity, innovation, and artistic exploration in fine-scale miniature. 

Marshall was the recipient of the Crystal Award from the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA), an Award of Excellence from the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC), and was an Academy Honor member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME). She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute in recognition of her nearly 40 years of board and committee service.

A remembrance at the museum will be held at a later date. Information regarding this event will be provided when it becomes available. 

In lieu of flowers, and in tribute to Barbara Marshall’s lifelong support of arts education, the family suggests contributions to: The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, 5235 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64112.

Hallmark Press Release
Barbara Marshall Tribute Website
T/m Co-Founder Barbara Marshall Bio

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures educates, inspires, and delights adults and children through the museum’s collection and preservation of toys and miniatures. Located on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, the museum exhibits the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the nation’s largest collections of historic toys on public display. For more information, call 816.235.8000 or visit



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