The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures features the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the largest collections of antique toys.
The museum began in 1982 as the Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum before converting to its national status in August of 2015. The museum changed its name and scope after the latest in a series of expansions to the space and the collection. When it first opened, the museum was comprised of the combined collection of two collectors, Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall, held in an old mansion on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Since that first display, the museum has continued to grow requiring expansions in 1985, 2004, and again in 2014. By the 2004 expansion, the museum held over 72,000 items. Among the items on display in the museum, are a wide array of vintage doll houses that are nicer than most real houses one will ever see, simple wooden boats, and tin toys ranging from soldiers to monkeys. The most impressive part of the collection may be its selection of miniatures which are so intricate and lifelike they could easily be mistaken for shrunken objects, ranging from baroque credenzas to framed portraits.
You aren’t going to find the lights and noise of a Toys R’ Us here, but the level of craftsmanship on display is like nothing one might find on the shelves today.