Urban Cool Kansas City Blog

Neighborhood Treasures: National Museum of Toys & Miniatures

August 22, 2017

In between Hyde Park and Brookside, at the edge of the University of Missouri Kansas City campus, you can find the absolute smallest neighborhood in Kansas City. It’s an entire community of spectacular dollhouses in the Toy & Miniature Museum. This might be Kansas City’s smallest neighborhood, but these are the largest toy houses you will ever see—one micro mansion is 9 feet tall.

The Toy and Miniature Museum is one of the city’s biggest secrets.

The overall collection is also ironically enormous: it’s the largest collection of miniatures in the country. With playthings of every kind, over 100 dollhouses, mind-boggling detail in miniature reproductions, and toys from four different centuries, they have almost 80,000 pieces in their toy chest. It’s one of the biggest and best sets of antique toys in the country—and their collection of marbles is also one of  the largest in the world.

In their rotating exhibits, the Toy and Miniature Museum also curates a thoughtful carousel of delights and adventures, sometimes highlighting local toymakers or artists. The exhibits have ranged from the methodically upcycled private art world of Oznog—a robot created by local artist Just Colchord—to the plush characters that Kansas City toy designer Donna Moore “sketched” in fabric and thread for Hallmark for worldwide distribution (current exhibit). Their historical exhibits can range across the spectrum of American toy cars, to a meticulous miniature recreation of Versailles with the ornate furniture of the Kings of France (current exhibit).

All these discoveries are housed in one of Kansas City’s stunning historic homes, the 38-room Tureman House. Overlooking the UMKC campus, the interior of this Italianate mansion still reveals hints of its original 1911 luxury.  

Even better, the entire thing began just as it should have—with a childhood friendship. One of the museum’s founders, Barbara Hall Marshall, began collecting miniatures in the 50’s. Her girlhood playmate, Mary Harris Francis, then started to collect dollhouses in the early 1970’s. In 1982, the two decided to share their toys with the world, and “The Miniature Museum” was born. Since then it has expanded, gone through a few changes, and even changed its name— growing up quite a bit. Reopening in 2015 after extensive renovations, it is now officially the “National Museum of Toys / Miniatures”, a title it certainly deserves, but many still remember it as the Toy and Miniature Museum.

After all, this is a place that truly plays to our memories. Even the oldest toy in the building, a doll from 1750’s, feels familiar and evocative -  it doesn’t hurt that her expression is every bit as sassy and modern-looking as an original Barbie. This might be why the museum is every bit as popular with adults as it is with children—perhaps more so—since we get to relive the playful past for a while.

You don’t need to bring kids along to plan your own playdate at the Tureman Mansion and the Coleman House (the 9’x7’ dollhouse inside it). Want to see other grown-up sized houses in the neighborhood? We can show you around.


 


August, 2017

Neighborhood Treasures: Kansas City Farmers' Markets



August, 2017

Neighborhood Treasures: National Museum of Toys & Miniatures



August, 2017

Local Happenings: The Ethnic Enrichment Festival - Kansas City’s Cultural Buffet



August, 2017

Neighborhood Treasures: Quay Coffee



July, 2017

New in the Neighborhood: Scraps KC



July, 2017

Local Happenings: The Fringes of Town



June, 2017

Homeowner Tips: Organizing Before/After a Move



June, 2017

Staging your Yard: Landscaping for Curb Appeal



June, 2017

Juneteenth: The Most Important Party You've Never Heard Of



June, 2017

Erasing the Kansas City Red Line



June, 2017

Racing The Dragon Boats



May, 2017

Local Happenings: Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival



May, 2017

Neighborhood Treasures: Prospero’s Books



May, 2017

Local Happenings: Troost Festival



May, 2017

A White Picket Fence



April, 2017

Middle of the Map Fest



April, 2017

Second Best Coffee in Kansas City



April, 2017

A Walk in the Park: Roanoke’s Escape



February, 2017

A Beautiful Day to go to Urban Cool KC Open Houses Today February 19



February, 2017

Land Bank Valentine's Day Sale - Show a Little Love 50 Homes for $999!



January, 2017

Modernize Your Outdated Kitchen



January, 2017

Modernize Your Outdated Kitchen



January, 2017

Urban Cool Open Houses January 28-29th



January, 2017

New Cool Urban Cafe on Troost in the Historic Manheim Neighborhood



January, 2017

Its Not Just Your Credit Score Lenders Are Looking AT! Social Data & Big Brother



January, 2017

The Continuing Adventures of a Southern Girl in the City- Lisa's Last Blog



December, 2016

Hubert and Franny Announce Renovations and Designs for Urban Cool KC Homes



December, 2016

The Continuing Adventures of A Southern Girl in the City



December, 2016

The Continuing Adventures of A Southern Girl in the City



December, 2016

Urban Cool KC Clients Creative Design of Their Waldo Bungalow



December, 2016

A Southern Girl in the City



January, 2016

Extreme Seller's Market! What That Means to You!



January, 2016

Ten Budget Friendly Upgrades When Selling Your House



October, 2015

Real Haunted Houses of Kansas City



November, 2014

Are We Hip Enough to be a Hipster City?



October, 2014

Its Time to Re-Think the FHA203k Rehab Loan



September, 2014

Johnson County Housing Services - Down Payment Assistance Program



August, 2014

Architectural Style of Urban KC Homes



November, 2013

How to Manifest Your Dream Home



August, 2013

Four Easy Ways to Find Foreclosure Listings



March, 2013

Secret Tip On Getting a Great Price For a House



March, 2013

What's the Crime Like in This Neighborhood? Check the Front Porch Score!



February, 2013

Don't Hire a Mediocre Realtor - 5 Tips