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Little things make big impression at dollhouse museum

DANVILLE, Kentucky-- A lot of things happen to you when you go inside The Great American Dollhouse Museum. It makes you feel like a giant, a time traveler and a spy.

More than 200 dollhouses are on display at the museum. But it's what's inside the houses that is truly amazing-- tiny rooms with tiny people staged in great detail.

Curator Lori Kagan-Moore says "It's a place where it's fair and safe and legal and fun to look in the houses and see what those people are thinking and doing."

This isn't the result of a lifetime of collecting. Just 12 years ago, Lori rediscovered one small dollhouse she had as a child and fell in love with it all over again. "Everything you see here now is a result of having bought things and having donations come in since 2005, so it's a very new collection to us," she says.

The real fun for Lori has been inventing stories to go with the houses. You'll see movie stars, children looking into sweet shops and a bride who's late for her wedding. Often the story carries on from one house to the next. A visitor favorite is the story of Gregory, a mischievous boy who is home alone. You can follow his trail of destruction from room to room. In an upstairs bedroom the visitor finds him using Easter egg dye to color the cat.

Most of the houses are set up to resemble life in 1910, both city and country life. And there is always work in progress and room to grow.

"You can come back to the museum every six months and see a huge amount of change," Lori says.

The emphasis right now is on Kentucky exhibits., with a newly-added tobacco warehouse and what will soon be a coal mining camp.

But it's not all historical. Just for fun, there's a fairy land and a cave full of trolls and dragons.

The museum is also home to a miniatures store for other people who love the hobby or want to get started.

Lori says, "It's very contagious. My joke is it's addictive and there's no 12-step program."

The biggest misconception is that this is a place full of toy dolls. Men and boys have just as much fun as women and girls when they see it's more about storytelling and craftsmanship.

Here, visitors can see how far we've come in a century-- in a small way, getting the big picture.

"I think they leave here feeling really happy and a little sentimental."


For more information about the museum, visit its website.

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