Toys, Dolls, Dollhouses, and Automata

These fanciful collections fill the entire second floor of the Variety Unit in a network of interconnected rooms. An array of European- and American-made dolls includes bisque, papier-maché, Parian, china, wax, wood, and cloth examples from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Exhibited alongside them are nineteenth- and twentieth-century dollhouses; these include an English Gothic Revival house and the Ramshackle Inn, a rambling American house with an artist’s studio in the attic.

The Museum also exhibits about thirty automata, which are large, often humorous mechanical toys. Several pieces by Gustave Vichy of Paris include a drunken chef, a magician, and a clown walking on his hands.

Vintage toys are exhibited in the Toy Shop and include nineteenth-century cast-iron banks, toy carriages, fire trucks, and an operating American Flyer toy train display.