While a pandemic isn’t the optimal time for the Denver Museum of Miniature Dolls & Toys to reveal their new home, that isn’t stopping them from celebrating their reopening after two years.
“We have as many doll houses on display in one gallery as we did in our entire previous location,” said Marjorie Smelt, treasurer of the board of directors. “This new location allows us to reach a whole lot more people. It also gives us the ability to have classroom space, so we can have people in to learn new skills.”
The museum is now located at 830 Kipling St. in Lakewood and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost just $5, but due to COVID-19 restrictions advance online tickets are required, as are face masks. There is a limit on the number of people in the gallery at any one time.
The museum dates back to 1981, and for the bulk of its existence was housed at the Pearce-McAllister Cottage in the City Park West neighborhood. When it became clear that it was outgrowing the cottage the search began for a new home. That was five years ago, and in June 2019 the museum secured its Lakewood location and began phase one of a three-phase renovation process.
“All the walls in our new place are completely removable, so we’re able to open it up into one large gallery and move our displays around,” Smelt said. “We have a capital campaign going to help renovate the other areas of the building, including a workshop space where we can have teachers lead classes.”
Staff is thrilled to reopen and share their collection of about 20,000 objects including international dolls, Madame Alexander dolls, board games, toys, doll houses and wall boxes, Smelt said.
“Miniatures go all the way back to Egypt and dolls have been around as long as there’s been children,” she said. “We try to show how history has affected toys, and how toys have affected history. Toys always reflect the era they were made in, and we can use them to teach about history.”
While the history of many of the pieces is fascinating, that doesn’t mean the craft of toy and miniature making is all relegated to the past, or just for children.
“People think this is just a Victorian craft or for kids, but we’re very much an all ages museum,” Smelt said. “Visitors can see things from as far back as the 1700s to new items that have been built in recent years. It can be very modern.”
For tickets and information, visit www.dmmdt.org.
Scratch your live outdoor music itch with Lakewood’s Legends concert series, held at the outdoor amphitheater at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 S. Yarrow St.
The remaining performers for the series include Chris Daniels & The Kings on Sept. 3, Dotsero on Sept. 10, Timothy P. and Friends on Sept. 17 and Funkiphino on Sept. 24. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. and show begins at 6: 30 p.m.
Among the special requirements to make the event possible is seating will be in “Household Squares,” each of which seats up to four people from the same household. Visit Lakewood.org/Legends for details, including health and safety protocols.
The Avett Brothers’ annual summer run at Red Rocks is one of those summer rituals I really miss during the no-concert streak that is 2020. But the North Carolina group have a new album coming on Aug. 28, so they’re doing what they can to give fans the chance to see them live. The show is in celebration of “The Third Gleam,” so prepare to hear some new tunes sprinkled in with your favorites.
The Avett Brothers will perform live on the backstretch of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 to some socially-distanced cars, and will be broadcasting the performance live on www.nugs.tv.
Shouts to British director Rob Savage for providing one of the best and most fun horror films of the year while in quarantine. “Host” - completed in just about 12 weeks in the midst of the global shut down - taps into the fears and anxieties so many have and channels them into something supernatural.
The film focuses on a group of friends all stuck at home during quarantine and they decide to have a virtual séance (if you’ve ever seen more than two horror films, you know that nothing good will come from this decision). Nobody takes the thing seriously - that is until stuff starts going horribly awry. There’s plenty of “Paranormal Activity,” here, but the filmmakers’ ingenuity and a few genuine scares make it more than a worthy effort.
Turn off all your lights, head to www.shudder.com and treat yourself to some spinetingling fun.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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