The Society of Memories Doll Museum began in 1968 with the purchase of five dolls from the Estate of Orrel Andrews, founder of the St. Joseph Museum. The Doll Museum grew and expanded over the next 40 years. In 2011, the museum shut its doors at 12th and Penn and transferred the collection to the St. Joseph Museums, Inc. The collection consisted of over 1,500 dolls, toys, and one-of-a-kind dollhouses.
Many of the dolls such as Barbie® Dolls, Chatty Cathy®, and Cabbage Patch® are familiar to people today, but the large collection contains lesser known dolls as well. Famous doll manufacturers represented in the collection include Simon & Halbig, Kestner, Kley and Hahn, and Handwerck of Germany, and Jumeau of France.
The collection also includes toys representing the play-time of past generations. Imagine when tin soldiers lined up to fight imaginary battles and pull-toys generated hours of fun. Favorites of the collection are “Spike”, a papier-mâche English bulldog from the Victorian era and Miss Hyogo, a Japanese Friendship Doll gifted to the St. Joseph Museum in 1927.
The interactive Doll Museum exhibits at the St. Joseph Museum explore dolls and toys across gender, culture, and generations. What was your favorite toy?
Do you have a doll or collection of dolls that you would like to donate to the museum?
Due to the number of dolls currently in the collection, please make sure that your potential donation meets at least 3 of the following criteria:
1. The doll must be in museum quality condition (good or excellent).
2. The doll must not be a duplicate of a doll currently in the Doll Museum collection.
3. The doll must have a significant St. Joseph, MO or State of Missouri connection.
4. Dolls without a St. Joseph or Missouri state connection, may be considered if they are unique, rare, historically significant or valuable for educational programming purposes.
If you have questions about doll donations please contact Sarah Ben-Ezra, Collections Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org