American Miniaturist features Dollhouses Then and Now museum, Quincy historic districts

Posted: Dec. 21, 2012 10:12 pm Updated: Jan. 11, 2013 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A Quincy museum dedicated to small-scale architecture is getting some large-scale attention in an international magazine.

An article in the January 2013 issue of American Miniaturist features Dollhouses Then and Now, the dollhouse museum owned and curated by Judy Taylor.

The three-page story with photos highlights the museum, housed in Taylor's Fine Furniture at 123 N. Fourth, along with what Quincy offers to visitors.

"When you visit, you must drive and walk through the historic districts," Joyce Mori wrote in the article. "If you are a fan of architecture -- and what miniaturist is not -- you will be amazed with the number, quality and variety of older homes. Just looking at these homes will provide you with ideas for your own dollhouses."

Taylor said Mori and her husband visited the museum featuring more than 70 dollhouses and took plenty of photos.

"(Mori) was so impressed with all I had. She had not seen a Tootsietoy dollhouse," Taylor said. "It was really affirming to hear her go on and on, and to get three pages in this magazine, it's like wow."

Taylor always has loved miniatures, but didn't get into dollhouses until nearly 15 years ago.

When friends of hers moved, they gave their daughter's dollhouse to Taylor. She redid the house with plenty of personal touches, including a family photo hanging on the wall, and found a new hobby. People often give Taylor dollhouses, knowing they'll be loved, and searching online and at auctions added more houses and furniture.

Taylor opened the museum in November 2010 when her dollhouse collection outgrew its display space in her home -- and to make it easier for more people to enjoy.

The museum helps trace the history of dollhouses, known as baby houses before 1900. Those early houses actually were just lavishly decorated rooms, usually enjoyed only by the wealthy. Dollhouses became more widespread and more widely available after 1900.

Taylor's collection includes vintage houses, furnishings and people dating to the 1920s made by Tootsietoy, Speilwaren-German/French, Wolverine, Renwal, Plasco, Marx and T. Cohn.

"I'm into the architecture. I like the old going to the new," Taylor said.

Mori particularly liked "the Spielwaren Puppen mobel German room boxes with their dolls and furniture," according to the article. "The Brumburger house is made from masonite, and has a wonderful lithographed exterior. It was sold in True Value stores in 1968 for $8.88."

The magazine, billed as America's favorite miniatures magazine, highlights the best how-tos and ideas for beginning to experienced miniaturists. It last featured something from this area in September 2007 with an article about a dollhouse store in Fort Madison, Iowa.

"The way the article is written, it's encouraging people to visit Quincy and make a trip out of it," Taylor said.

Mori highlights the private home tours available in Quincy along with the Park Bench cafe and Underbrink's Bakery.

"I think you will find the museum and the Quincy historic areas are a wonderful resource for miniaturists," Mori wrote.

Holly Cain, executive director of the Quincy Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said such articles have a positive effect on the community.

"This article featured a unique museum in our downtown, which may serve as the destination driver in the coming travel season," Cain said.

"Anytime Quincy is showcased in a national publication, especially in an editorial manner, we do notice additional visitor inquiries. Often people will save their magazine to reference for an upcoming trip."





The Dollhouses Then and Now Museum, inside Taylor's Fine Furniture, features 70 furnished dollhouses from early 1900 to the present.

Hours are 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.

The museum will be open today (Dec. 22) and Dec. 26.

Private tours are available for groups of five or more.

Admission fee is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

"It gives people something to do over Christmas, if you've got kids in from out of town," owner Judy Taylor said. "I'll be there the day after Christmas, and if I know people are coming, I'll go the day before Christmas."

More information about the museum and arranging a special showing is available by contacting Taylor at (217) 222-1153 or (217) 228-0088 and