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Treasures In Miniature

Some things, due to their overwhelming size, need to  be seen to be believed. Times Square, for instance. Or the Great Wall of China.

Or the Great American Dollhouse Museum. The first two examples, of course, overwhelm with enormity. The Dollhouse Museum, in contrast, overwhelms with minutae. Big time.

Located in Danville, Kentucky, the museum is worth the trip, no matter where you are. Its focus is on "the depiction of American social history in miniature." To that end, there is a massive series of interconnected glass cases, containing more than two hundred houses, buildings and display boxes. This is a place for kids of all ages, and not only dollhouse enthusiasts.

That's because it's really more like a museum presented in miniature than it is a showcase of dollhouses. You'll see three separate major exhibitions: the first is a timeline of United States history, beginning with Native Americans and continuing through the Colonial period, Old West, early Southwest and the modern era. The second exhibition is a complete miniature town circa 1910. It includes homes, businesses, stores and factories, as well as a Shaker village. Guests are invited to solve mysteries (what does that letter say?, why are those boys fighting?) and get involved with the fictional lives and scenarios presented in the town.

Finally, as if all this weren't fantastic enough, guests are invited to enter fantasyland. The final section of the Dollhouse Museum contains an enchanted forest, complete with faeries, elves, witches, trolls and a walk-in dragon cave. (And then there's a real store, speaking of enchanted!)

A trip through the Dollhouse Museum will take you far less time than a trip through, say, Times Square. But the "oohs" and "ahhs" will be just as big.


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