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updated: 2/15/2013 5:18 PM

Museum marks 25 years of the Martha Mills Doll Collection

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  • Martha Mills made these dolls of President Abraham Lincoln, 1957, and Young Abraham Lincoln, 1962. Both were awarded first prize ribbons by the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

      Martha Mills made these dolls of President Abraham Lincoln, 1957, and Young Abraham Lincoln, 1962. Both were awarded first prize ribbons by the United Federation of Doll Clubs.
    Courtesy of Arlington Heights Historical Museum

 
Submitted by Arlington Heights Historical Museum

The Arlington Heights Historical Museum celebrates 25 years of the Martha Mills Dolls Collection with a new exhibit Calendar Dollies. The new exhibit features dolls representing holidays and red-letter calendar days throughout the year that bring color and excitement to every season.

Dolls represent New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Fourth of July, and Christmas to name a few.

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Martha Mills donated her collection of over 1,000 dolls to the Arlington Heights Historical Museum 25 years ago. Since that time, more dolls have been donated by various collectors and volunteers have faithfully taken care of the collection through research to document each doll, make necessary repairs, catalog, and store them. The exhibits change twice a year, and the dolls are featured each winter at the Holiday Doll Tea. Calendar Dollies is curated by Phylliss Mustain, doll volunteer at the museum.

To neighborhood children in Stonegate, Martha Mills was the "doll lady," who opened her collection to view each Saturday morning. To serious doll collectors throughout North America, Martha Mills was an authority on all aspects of the history, manufacture, and care of dolls. Besides those made by others, her dolls include those she crafted from wood, soap, wax, clay, dried apples, porcelain and clothespins -- everything she said "from coconuts to corncobs."

A free special open house viewing of Martha Mills Calendar Dollies exhibit will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, at the Banta House at 514 N. Vail in Arlington Heights.

The exhibit may also be viewed during regular museum tours from 2-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Fee for museum tours is $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 3-14, and free for children under age 3. Regular tours begin in the Heritage Gallery, 112 N. Fremont.

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