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A murder of Barbies

Today, we went to the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. The kids were very skeptical because how can a museum about miniatures, dolls, and toys be very cool? Seriously? This is how we are spending our Sunday afternoon? I think they pictured a sterile, roped off environment and not a hands-on and up-close experience.

They loved it, of course. All of them studied the intricately detailed rooms in several amazing dollhouses. The painstaking work it took to create tiny, tiny, tiny tacos in the Sante Fe adobe homestead makes my eyes cross. I pictured squinting people with tweezers and impossible steady hands building many of the rooms, towns, and railroad villages we admired. Many of the dollhouses are replicas of actual stately and historical homes.

The most talked-about display on our trip home was the miniature circus, complete with the parked trailers for the carnies. I love how they were towed by battered Matchbox cars and trucks. Looking at it was not unlike a view one would have if they were floating in a big silver balloon.

I got a little too excited by the display of vintage Fisher Price toys, which included the castle with the little people (choking hazard size!), grandfather’s clock, the scrolling TV, the ball with the rocking horses and swans—which we had. I never imagined as I watched my little brother gum it that it would be museum worthy some day.

The museum has dozens of vintage Barbies. What is a gathering of Barbies called? I proposed a “murder” of Barbies. I liked them, though, especially the ones from the 60s with the jutting black eyelashes and hats. Of course, no doll museum can be without Madame Alexander dolls, which I collect for Beatrix and Aidan via the extremely classy method of buying them at McDonald’s when they are the Happy Meal toys. I enjoyed seeing them full-sized and not-spooky.

We spent almost 2 hours poking around the galleries. There were several hands-on spots. The kids played vintage Nintendo from the olden days, built Lego walls, and had the chance to play with a dollhouse on the floor of a sunny room, which was also filled with books and other toys.



On the way out, kids are invited to take small trinket toys from a treasure chest, or they can choose a handmade yarn doll from a bin. Beatrix chose a pink doll, which she unravelled as soon as we got to the van. When we got home, she brought a blue ballpoint pen to me, asking if I could draw eyes on the wad of yarn. Doesn’t work that way, kitten.

My boys picked more practical mementos of the afternoon.


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