LITTLE FALLS -- The charm may be in the details after all.
Perhaps it is seeing the everyday made smaller. But there is something amusing about the almost amazing tiny detail that comes with examination of a doll's house.
From miniature -- yet complete -- home settings to mini pets, the rooms are often exact replicas of the larger human-size versions. Both children and adults are part of the collectible tradition of dolls.
The full five stories of a dollhouse may be enough to make most collectors wish for such space options of their own. The open floors provide options for large and small doll scenes at the Linden Hills Conference and Retreat Center in the Weyerhaeuser mansion in Little Falls. (Dispatch Photos by Renee Richardson)
In Little Falls, those doll collectors have an opportunity to see a newly displayed five-story home for the tiny people inside. From minute interior home settings that include tiny boxes of Corn Flakes to larger dolls at tea, the dollhouse is part of the displays of Laura Jane Musser's collections at the Linden Hills Conference and Retreat Center in Little Falls.
Musser was the sole heir to the Musser-Weyerhaeuser estate and heritage. She was active in promoting the arts and in teaching area children the joys associated with a deeper appreciation of dance and music. She died in 1989 at age 73.
There are the dolls she had from childhood. Others came as souvenirs from larger travels. Now they are all part of displays in the Weyerhaeuser downstairs room dedicated to dolls. Big. Small. Smallest. They reside behind glass doors, sit on shelves or become part of the larger dollhouse complete with their own rooms, built to suitable scale, of course.
In fashionable dresses and hair styles, the dolls are busy taking down those last holiday decorations just as their human counterparts are this first week of 2000.
Now, even the dolls are no doubt busy taking down those holiday decorations.
Musser collected many of the dolls on her trips around the globe. Others came as childhood gifts and still others were ordered as collectibles. Recent discoveries at the mansions included dolls still in unopened F.A.O. Schwartz boxes.
A mix of imaginary power and the recreation of home in minute detail are designed as enjoyment for children. But the fascination can linger long into adulthood. Perhaps it is seeing everything from cereal boxes to baby cribs replicated to match a doll's life. For those who had doll houses in orange crates, open-sided metal homes or full-blown interactive houses large enough for child and dolls, a new setting in Little Falls is worth seeing.
A Shirley Temple doll is part of the doll displays that include a photo album and other collectibles from the young actress' film career.
From a baby in a bassinet to a more rustic kitchen setting, doll furniture can be a collectible in itself.
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