Wildwood Historic Center celebrates century of dolls

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The Wildwood Historic Center, 420 Steinhart Park Rd., has a special exhibit, “All Dolled Up,” on display through Sept. 30.

The display features 32 dolls ranging from the late 1860s to the late 1970s, which the exception of the 1930s, said Michell Painter, Wildwood Historic Center manager. Some are on loan from local residents, some crossed the river from two Fremont County, Iowa, museums for a brief visit, and some are part of the center’s permanent collection.

Visitors have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to win one of four 1940s wedding party dolls. The bride, two bridesmaids, and a flower girl will be given away on Oct. 1. 

Those entering the drawing need to be available to pick up the dolls at the center after the drawing, said Painter.

The oldest dolls on display are three “portrait dolls” from the late 1860s, said Painter. These dolls were sent mail order, and buyers bought only the porcelain shoulders and head, painted to resemble someone. The buyer had to make the body and the doll’s clothes after purchase.

Gwen Dodson Powell loaned Wildwood a collection of international dolls, including some from Vietnam and Japan, and the Fremont County Historical Museum in Sidney, Iowa, and the Ferrel House in Randolph, Iowa, also lent dolls to the exhibit.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 402-873-6340 for more information.

The Wildwood Historic Center will host Victorian Christmas throughout the month of October, and Heirloom Christmas in early December. 

Pictured is a doll display at Wildwood Historic Home in Nebraska City.