Monday, March 14, 2016
You Won't Believe How Many Dolls Are Inside This Arkansas Museum!
You should. Because that's what you'll find at Chaffee Crossing at the Enchanted Doll Museum in Fort Smith.
This collection is hers, and it's on display at the Enchanted Doll Museum.
Mary, like many other little girls, started collecting dolls when she was young. But unlike many of us, she kept those dolls and kept adding more to her collection... and more... and more.
Over time, she preserved thousands of dolls, which she stored and shelved in her Van Buren home. But in 2008, a new possibility opened up, a chance for her to share her dolls with everyone. That year, the Chaffee Crossing Historic District was created. The 7000 acre Chaffee Crossing complex on the former Fort Chaffee base included a museum district anchored by the Chaffee Barbershop Museum. And yes, there was room for her dolls.
She also has a large collection of dolls related to Gone With The Wind, including sets of Barbies of the major characters and dolls wearing all those different Scarlet dresses - yes, even the curtain dress.
There's an incredible collection of Kewpie dolls, each with those chubby cheeks and shining eyes.
Of course, there are plenty of Barbies, from several decades, from the lushly adorned Christmas Barbies to an international set, Barbies dressed as Disney Princesses and celebrities and in all manners of occupational wear.
For children of the 80s like me, there's a whole set of Cabbage Patch Kids, in a variety of colors and outfits.
And here they can be - the gorgeous and the unusual, the common and the unique. There's no way to show them all at one time within the museum, but Mary circulates them. However, her other businesses
the Enchanted Wedding Chapel, Fantasies at the Fort and the Enchanted Park) keep her busy. Therefore, the museum is only open by appointment. But once you make that appointment, visiting is free, and Mary can tell you so many stories about so many of these dolls.
You'll find more information about Chaffee Crossing here. And be sure to schedule plenty of time to see everything.
Other places to visit while you're in Fort Smith:
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith Museum of History
Enchanted Doll Museum
Miss Laura's Visitors Center
Share our experiences - click here to see where else we went on our epic road trip along US Highway 71 from the Louisiana border to the Missouri state line.