collecting author to sign books
of artist dolls to be displayed
at Jeffersontown Historical Museum
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 2005) A prominent
author who writes about doll collecting will be a featured guest in
January at the Jeffersontown Historical Museum.
Northern Kentucky author Kathryn Witt will visit the museum from 4 p.m.
to 7 p.m. on Jan. 27 to sign her books. Witt has recently written two
books about doll collecting, including Contemporary American Doll
Artists and Their Dolls and The Doll Directory: A Guide
to U.S. Doll Museums, Collections & Hospitals plus Clubs, Organizations
and Annual Shows, in which the Jeffersontown Historical Museum
The first book chronicles 25 contemporary doll artists
and their dolls. It features nearly 200 color photographs and doll artist
biographies. The second book is an extensive directory.
The Jeffersontown Historical Museum has been in operation at the Jeffersontown
Government Center since 2000. The museum first opened around 1976 in
the old City Hall but was not successful enough to continue operating.
Around 1997, the city decided to try re-opening the museum in celebration
of Jeffersontowns Bicentennial.
The museum is home to a Dolls of the World exhibit, with
almost 1,300 dolls in the collection. According to the museums
website, the collection is thought to be the largest collection
of its type in the Midwest.
Many of the dolls were donated by collector Petra Williams, including
a collection of Barbie dolls and a two-story Schoenhut doll house that
she received as a child.
The dolls in the museum collection come from many different parts of
the world. The oldest piece is a Greek Tana-gra figurine dating back
Tanagra figures were made of terra-cotta and were mass-produced
and used for decoration in the home, said museum director Beth
To help celebrate Witts visit, the museum will be holding a special
exhibit to showcase a collection of artist dolls belonging
to members of the Derby City Doll Club. This special exhibit will run
throughout January and February.
Established in 1975, the Derby City Doll Club is a local organization
for doll collectors. It has 22 members. The club meets once a month,
and each monthly meeting consists of a different educational program
about dolls and doll collecting. Club members also attend a national
convention each year.
The activities at the convention include educational programs and an
antique doll competition.
Day Doll is one of many dolls in Witt's collection.
A doll can be considered an artist doll if
it is an original production and if it is produced in limited numbers.
Ann Hays, vice-president of the Derby City Doll Club, says that artist
dolls are crafted from the artists own original ideas
they are not copying the ideas of others.
Artist dolls can be renditions of well-known characters, such as the
characters created by Beatrix Potter, but they have to be the artists
own specific version of the character.
According to Hays, artist dolls can be made from many different mediums,
including wax, porcelain, wood, felt or self-sculpture.
To ensure that a specific artist doll will stay limited in number, the
artist always destroys the mold after the desired number of dolls is
produced. This is one of the processes that makes a doll truly an artist
Hays is planning on displaying at least four of her artist dolls at
the Jeffersontown exhibit, including Sophie, an all-porcelain
lady doll that dates to 1966. Sophie was crafted
by doll artist Sonja Bryer, and there are only 75 copies of the doll
Hays also plans on loaning the museum a pair of dolls collectively named
Mothers Day, by artist Maggie Iacono, and another
doll named Montague, by artist R. John Wright. All three
dolls are made out of felt.
The two dolls from Mothers Day are fully posable,
with bendable arms and legs. Montague is more than just
a doll he can also be used as a candy container.
The Jeffersontown Historical Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is located at 10635 Watterson
Trail in Jeffersontown, behind the library. For information or directions,
call (502) 261-8290 or visit: www.jeffersontownky.com/museum.html.
For more information about the author, visit: www.kathywitt.com.
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