Whether you’re a fan of miniatures, toys, history, or just incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail, you’ll love National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, home to one of the largest collections of toys and miniatures on the planet!
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures opened in 1982 in an old mansion on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City. Formerly known as the Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum, the museum combined the collections of two friends. Mary Harris Francis amassed antique toys. Barbara Hall Marshall, on the other hand, preferred and gathered fine miniatures.
Together, the two collections provided both a foundation for the museum and a magnet for growth. Collections acquired over the years have forced museum expansions.
At the time of the last expansion, the museum contained well over 72,000 items. This means the museum contains the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the nation’s largest collections of antique toys!
Visiting the Museum
Don’t go to the museum expecting a lot of bright plastics and flashing lights. Most of the toys and miniatures on display at the museum are not like those you see on the store shelves or bedroom floors today.
Instead of high tech gimmicks, many of these toys and miniatures are exceptional because of their intricacy and craftsmanship. The kind of attention to detail and handiwork, real by-hand handiwork, that boggles the mind.
You’ll see vintage doll houses that put real homes to shame. Some of the handmade miniatures are so intricate, you’d swear they were manufactured in Lilliput. Tiny, tiny toolboxes, credenzas, books, jewelry, framed portraits, decks of cards, and more.
Temporary exhibits at the museum are another big draw. These highlight privately-held collections, specific manufacturers, properties, eras, and other topics.
Dolls, stuffed animals, wooden boats, soldiers, and tin toys of all descriptions pack the 33,000 square foot exhibit space. You’ll see toys from history, toys from your youth, and toys you cannot believe they ever made. Fun and fascinating!
National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
5235 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64112
Open Wednesday through Monday, 10am-4pm. Closed Tuesdays.
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