CANAL WINCHESTER, OH (WCMH) — This summer, a central Ohio museum is celebrating its 35th year of business.
This museum prides itself on a different kind of collection, one with extremely rare items that few own today, but many have in the past. The Mid-Ohio Historical Toy and Doll Museum in Canal Winchester has been holding professional hours since it first opened its doors in the early 1980s.
On the outside, it’s a brick building with not a lot of pomp and circumstance, but inside, it’s another story.
“What is really sad is I don’t know what is going to happen to it,” Henrietta Pfeifer said. She started the doll museum with just a few dozen dolls in one room in 1983, today her dolls and toys number in the thousands across an entire building.
“I don’t know many I have at this point, a lot,” Pfeifer said.
From collectible classics like the original Barbie doll, and the original Mickey Mouse, to new dolls like the Harry Potter protagonists, Pfeifer’s museum runs the gamut of toy stories. She sets up the displays herself with the help of a handful of volunteers.
Starting a doll museum was an odd choice for the longtime Ohio mother of two boys.
“I didn’t want to just sit around and play cards … although I do like to play cards,” Pfeifer said. Her museum does not showcase cards, but it does have some king and queens from the royal family.
Touring groups still come through the non-profit museum.
“Toys have changed a lot,” Brenda Shaile said while perusing the museum with her husband and a church group, “It does bring back memories of when we were kids.”
Those are memories the curator does not share, Pfeifer did not own a doll until she was an adult.
“I was aware of dolls, but I never had one,” Pfeifer said of her childhood. She grew up in Kansas where she said her family could not afford luxuries like dolls.
Pfeifer is not sure how much longer the museum will stay open, or what will happen if she retires. She hopes a city or new owner may keep the dolls together.
“I don’t want to but I am 81 now,” Pfeifer said.
Until then she is happy to take anyone on a tour of their childhood.
“Even if you are not interested in dolls, it’s kind of like a recreation of our history,” Pfeifer said.
You can learn more about the Mid-Ohio Historical Toy and Doll Museum on their website.