Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Inspiring a Helping Hand

In 1998 Lynda Pracht traveled to Nicaragua on a sponsored Learning Centers Mission. Inspired by the enthusiasm and talented embroidery and desigh skills of the Nicaraguan women, she found a nich market in the doll dresses trade. Lynda and her volunteers teach sewing and other skills to the women.

Nicaragua women are paid for each dress that they make. This provides income to the home, which may be the only income at all. The China Nica Doll Dresses program allows women to stay in their community, learn a skill, earn an income and live with dignity.

This program can be an inspiration to all.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Exhibits

With the introduction in 1908 of Schoenhut's Farmer and Milkmaid, a youngster had all the elements of a working farm. Many of the animals made by Schoenhut are seen on a farm: The cow, pig, goat, sheep, donkey, goose, horse, and dog. This wonderful Farmer exhibit is now on display at the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum.

Looking forward to you coming to visit!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Haunted Trolley Ride

Looking for something to do this weekend. Come out to enjoy a bit of family fun! This Friday and Saturday at 7 pm to join Spencer with a Haunted Trolley ride in celebration of Halloween. The cost for the trolley ride is $12 for adults and $8 for students.This experience includes a tour of the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum and a trolley ride through Spencer while being told spooky stories.

Reservations are recommended. Call 704-762-9359 First come, first serve.

We look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween is on its way!

The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum has a wonderful window display for Halloween created by interior decorator Ms. Nancy Jo Fox., who is a on the board here at the museum.
The display features skeletons and spooky Halloween lights to put you in the Halloween spirit.
It is decorated in the traditional colors of Halloween, black and orange.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We are currently displaying an All Things Royal exhibit.
This beautiful display features royal dolls, including Princess Diana.
In side the display is also a letter from the Queen.
Please come and see this unique exhibit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

October is Doll House and Miniature Month. Let's celebrate!

If you like miniatures you'll certainly want to come by and see the miniature display set up by The Mini Reflections Miniature Club of Mooresville, NC. This past Saturday two members set up a wonderful and varied display of miniatures.

The Mini Reflections Miniature Club is an organization of people in the area of Mooresville, Statesville, Salisbury, Troutman, and Lincolnton who are interested in building and collecting miniatures and learning about miniatures. Mini Reflections is one of the newer clubs chartered by the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME) as Club 789. 

A miniature is a small-scale reproduction, or a small variation. Unfortunately miniatures aren't governed by any size rule, unless it is a scale size rule. As a hobby, miniatures can be almost anything you want, from reality to fantasy, past, present, future, historically accurate, expensive or hand-made. Creating miniatures is a hobby that everyone can participate in.

Lynn and Debbie working on the Log Cabin they raffled
off to raise funds for The Victory Junction Gang.

Who has the most famous Doll House in the world? 

In the early 1920s, an extraordinary doll's house was created for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. Queen Mary's Dolls' House is one of the most famous.

The idea for building it originally came from the Queen's cousin, Princess Marie Louise, who discussed her idea with one of the top architects of the time, Sir Edwin Lutyens at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1921. Sir Edwin agreed to construct the dolls' house and began preparations.

Princess Marie Louise had many connections in the arts and arranged for the top artists and craftsmen of the time to contribute their special abilities to the house. As a result, the dolls' house has an amazing collection of miniature items that actually work. It even has running water through its tiny pipes. It was created as a gift to Queen Mary from the people, and to serve as a historical document on how a royal family might have lived during that period in England.

The dolls' house was put on display to raise funds for the Queen's charities. It was originally exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition, 1924–1925, and is now on display in Windsor Castle, at Windsor, Berkshire, England, as a tourist attraction, especially to people with an interest in miniature houses and furniture.

It was made to a scale of 1:12 (one inch to one foot), is over three feet tall, and contains models of products of well-known companies of the time.

 The displays from the Mini Reflections Miniatures Club will be on exhibit through the end of October.  Please come by and see them. You'll be amazed at the detail. You'll also sure to enjoy the lovely doll house donated to the museum from the Krapf family. 

(Information and pictures above on Queen Mary's Doll House copied from Wikipedia. For more information visit's_Dolls'_House.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

During the 1930s North American factories churned out dollhouse furnishings 

During  the 1930s, due to the Great Depression, times were tough for many people in Canada and the United States. Both World Wars had disrupted the flow of toys from Germany and this allowed opportunities for North American factories to churn out dollhouse furnishings -- and prepared the way for the inroads of plastic in the late 1940s. 

But during the 1930s, metal, wood, cardboard and cloth formed the bulk of miniatures, while plywood, fiber-board and cardboard were the choices for dollhouses. Colorful printed papers were glued over these cheap materials. 

One of the most popular manufacturers of dollhouse furnishings was a company in Chicago named Dowst. TootsieToy was their trade name.  "Tootsie"  was the name of a family member who died tragically young at age 16 years. two years later the name changed to "Tootsietoy."

The doll house furnishings were made in a "special composition metal that will not break easily" and, further, that this "almost indestructible metal"  would "not break like wood."

This company specialized in small, little playthings like toy cars, planes, and little trains. Dowst also created a line for girls focusing on dollhouse furnishings. 

And what's interesting about Dowst and TootsieToy was they were able to find an economic way to mass-produce furniture. The original price for an entire set was $1.25. The smaller sets were a little less expensive and they were made out of cast metal. The metal is known as "die-cast" and is very easy to cast, providing a lot of detail. The upholstered furniture, featured  a flocked surface so it looks soft, but it's really still a die-cast piece of furniture.

The kitchen furniture pieces featured in their line are just as detailed. A few pieces in the line included a Monitor Top refrigerator, the type of stove used in the day, a Hoosier-type-looking cupboard. 

If a collector were to have a boxed set in the highest condition, he could conservatively value the set, at approximately  $200 to $300. But when you really put a whole collection together, the price could increase significantly.  At an auction, a full set of eight rooms could be valued between $2,500 to $3,000. .

Today's collectors are still in search of the perfect piece.  However on the market today, most of the pieces are maimed pianos, table, sinks, etc.,  not to mention the chipped paint finishes. The scale of the Tootsie furniture is quite small and ranges in scale from ½ inch to 1 inch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Additions to Barbie Through The Years

Due to a generous loan from a collector, we now have original Barbies, Ken, and family and friends in our Barbie Through The Years exhibit. If you've never seen an original Barbie, or if you used to own one but it disappeared sometime over the years, you'll be sure to enjoy this exhibit. The Barbies range from 1960 to the early 1980s and include Ken as you've never seen him before, Skipper, and Julia, Mattel's first black character doll.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do you remember...

...Betsy McCall paper dolls?

...composition dolls?

...Pic Up Stix?

...cowboy heroes like Roy Rogers?

...Patty Playpal?

...classic cars and cruising?

...when Scarlett used the drapes to make a dress?

Revisit your favorite toys and share your memories of favorite classic film stars and that car you used to have as you view the diverse collection of dolls and toys at the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Look and Touch

The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum isn't a "look, but don't touch" museum. We have play areas for kids so that they can handle a doll from the 1940s, write on a vintage chalk board, play with an intricate donated toy train set, and even dress the dolls on a "paper doll" quilt. Bring the whole family to the museum for an educational and interactive experience!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fashion and Modeling Day Camp to be Rescheduled

The Fashion Day Camp at the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum today was canceled. The coordinator had a medical emergency in her family. The day camp will be rescheduled.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's almost that time....

...time to go back to school!

If you're looking for one more afternoon of fun with the kids before school starts, come and visit us at the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum. We have a calendar of events listed on our website, including Fashion and Modeling Day Camp on August 4. There's still time to register. Call the museum for details. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

China head dolls

Many people refer to all porcelain and bisque dolls as "china dolls". China head dolls are a separate category. They have molded hair instead of a wig or rooted hair, and usually have a cloth body with porcelain or bisque forearms and feet. They may also have kid leather hands. Many china heads have exaggeratedly large calves, painted blue garters, and brown or black painted boots. China heads are usually referred to by their hairstyles: low brow and high brow. The doll head in the first picture is an example of a low brow. Companies, mainly in Germany, began producing china heads in 1840. Reproductions are still made, such as the two blonde dolls in the second picture which are from the mid to late 20th century. The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum has an exhibit of gorgeous antique china heads with various types of bodies. Come in and see these beautiful and fascinating dolls for yourself. They will be on exhibit until September.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane - Miniature Toy Soldiers

Do you remember playing with miniature soldiers and other miniature toys as a child? The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum has two cases of miniatures and other "baby boomer" toys on loan from the South Carolina Military Miniature Society. Visitors have described these exhibits as "a trip down memory lane." Come in and see them and our many other featured exhibits!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebrating 100 Years of Scouting

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts! We have a fantastic exhibit of vintage and modern Girl Scout dolls and memorabilia. Some of the items are on loan from the Charlotte Hornet's Nest Girl Scout Council, so the exhibit won't be here long. Stop by and see it before it moves on to its next destination.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Opening Saturday, June 30

The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum will be OPEN on Saturday, June 30, from 10-4. We will be closed Sunday and Monday, then will reopen Tuesday. Regular hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10-4. Admission fees are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children. Please bring cash only this week! Thank you! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tyler Wentworth versus Gene!

Which is your favorite, Tyler Wentworth by the Tonner Doll Company:

or, Gene by Mel Odom?

Here is another Tonner doll, Ava Gardner:

And finally, one more doll by Mel Odom. This is Violet Waters:

Whether you prefer Tonner dolls or Gene dolls, we have a beautiful exhibit that includes both. Hurry in and see them before the summer is over, because Gene and her friends won't be with us forever!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Do you love trucks? Do you REALLY love trucks? If you do, you must put the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum on your list for a day trip this summer! We have hundreds of die-cast, scale model tractor trailers, cars, and motorcycles.

The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum has something for everyone, so please come visit us when we open in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Have you ever wondered how a doll is made?

Come to the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum when we open in July and view our "What Is A Doll?" exhibit to find out!

The picture above is an example of greenware. Greenware is the very fragile, unfinished clay product that comes out of a mold. Once greenware has been fired in a kiln, it becomes more durable ceramic. The ceramic doll head, or other components, are then painted by the artist, and the product is a lovely completed doll. "What Is A Doll?", prepared by Michael and Gayle Hansen, gives a brief history of dolls and shows different types of dolls as well as a mold used to create a doll's head and the different stages that a head goes through before being finished.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Faces!

Amazing new dolls are arriving at the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum almost every day! These are just a few of our latest babies, on loan from generous members of the Rowan Doll Society:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dolls From Around The World

Our collection includes dolls from nearly every country you can imagine!

Come and see our international Barbies, Precious Moments dolls, and other dolls when we open in a  few weeks. You and your children can experience the beauty and culture of people the world over through our dolls and toys.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Not just dolls!

The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum also has vintage toys, such as these tin marble games from the 1930s:

Plan to come and see our wide variety of exhibits, including antique and vintage toys, a massive working train set, and hundreds of die-cast model trucks! The Spencer Doll and Toy Museum has something for everyone!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Barbie - Did you know...

...that Barbie's full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts?

...that Barbie's birthday is March 9, 1959?

...that not all Barbie dolls are exactly 11.5 inches tall?

Come see our many dazzling Barbies and learn more about America's most-loved doll!