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?