National Museum of Toys and Miniatures’s (T/m) mission is to educate, inspire, and delight adults and children through the museum's collection and
preservation of toys and miniatures. T/m exhibits and preserves one of the
nation's largest collections of antique toys and the world's largest collection of fine-scale miniatures.
The Toy and Miniature Museum opened in 1982. The museum started
with 7,000 square feet of exhibit space and two full-time staff in the
former Tureman Mansion, leased from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.
In 1985, the museum's founders, Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall, formed
the Toy and Miniature Museum Foundation, donated their personal collections,
and undertook a major fundraising effort to build an addition onto the original
building. After the long-term loan of an extensive marble collection in 2004, a
second addition added 12,000 square feet. In 2014, the museum became The
National Museum of Toys and Miniatures and began a major renovation to improve
the museum climate and reallocate the building’s existing square footage to
better serve the needs of the collection and visitors.
The museum’s first public capital campaign sought to raise $10.2 million to improve the museum’s climate to collection preservation standards; augment the endowment to provide funding for education and acquisitions; and, improve exhibitions and interpretation. In February of 2015, the museum successfully completed the campaign with a total of $10.72 million raised.
museum’s most pressing needs for support include the following:
Museum of Toys and Miniatures seeks to educate, inspire, and delight museum
visitors and members about the historical and cultural significance of toys and
miniatures with a variety of innovative educational and programmatic strategies.
Through on-going programming, museum educators use the collection as a gateway to learning,
inspiring and cultivating contemplation, curiosity, imagination, analysis, and
The museum desires to increase
accessibility to the collection for a larger demographic by offering collections-focused
programs with a hands-on workshop component, such as the summer’s annual hands-on
activity series, the miniature artist-in-residence series, and family free
days. During these educational programs and events, visitors gain an appreciation
for and understanding of the difference between antique, historical toys and
fine-scale, contemporary art miniatures.
Through programming, the museum strives
to assist visitors in understanding and appreciating the art of the imagination
inherent in the collection. The museum’s education staff desires to share these
lessons with an increasingly diverse museum audience in order to break down
race, gender, and cultural barriers in the Kansas City community using the
common ground of play and toys.
Success will be measured by attendance
and membership rates; repeat visitation by existing members and guests in both
guided tours and on-going programming; an increase in community recognition in
the form of visitation, membership, donations, volunteers, partnerships, and
sponsorships; positive feedback from program participants and museum visitors;
and an increase in individual interaction with the organization in terms of
newsletter registrations, repeat visitation, and volunteers.
Since reopening on August 1, 2015, the museum has seen more than 14,000 visitors in three months and a 162% increase in museum membership. With an increase in operating hours and a decrease in admission prices, visitorship has become more diverse in gender, age, and ethnicity.
The museum has more than 72,000
artifacts in its collection. Museum staff strive to achieve the institution’s
mission to educate, inspire, and delight visitors by using the collection to
foster an appreciation for and understanding of antique toys and fine-scale
miniatures beyond the collection’s inherent wonder.
The museum presents special exhibitions highlighting aspects of our collection and other collectors’ assemblages, with an emphasis on exhibitions with a multi-generational appeal. Each exhibition includes educational, interactive, and contextual elements, in addition to supplemental programming. Currently, the museum has a backlog of exhibition ideas; underwriting support is needed to create these temporary exhibitions.
T/m seeks to be a portal to the past, a
chronicle of the ways that our imaginations have served us over time and our material
culture has shaped and reflected our lives. Children of all ages, at all income
levels have engaged in play across generations. The museum is a place for
visitors to find common ground, reminisce, analyze, and discuss. Short-term
success includes visitors’ understanding of the difference between antique toys
and fine-scale miniatures, as well as an increase in corporations and community
organizations seeking to partner with the museum.
Long-term success of the museum’s exhibitions will
be marked by
museum tracks attendance, revenue, donations, memberships, and collection donation inquiries. Those are then compared to special exhibition periods to determine the success of exhibition topics and provide guidance for
future exhibitions. Interactive experiences in the temporary exhibitions allow
for visitor feedback; these qualitative responses provide insight into visitor
enjoyment of an exhibition.
The museum renovation allocated many spaces in the museum for the rotating of collections. The Hallway of Collections not only features subsets of the museum collection, but also those of local individuals. Currently on display are Madame Alexander dolls, marbles, early board games, metal soldiers, and Star Wars toys. With the acknowledgment of these individuals and their collections, we hope to spark future generations of collections. In November, a gallery talk will allow visitors to talk to the individuals who have loaned their vehicles for Pedal to the Metal: Pedal Cars and American Car Culture.
The museum collection provides
unlimited educational possibilities for adults by encompassing a number of subjects
including history, architecture, decorative arts, material culture, science,
and mathematics. The fine-scale miniature collection is an
illustration of our material history, simultaneously demonstrating human
innovation, craftsmanship, and ingenuity while challenging viewers’ concept of
what is possible and stimulating critical thinking skills.
Toys are the product of the evolutionary social construction of childhood, stimulating imagination and creativity, while also reflecting education through play by teaching children adult skills and societal expectations; emulating cultural norms and mores, including commentaries on race, ethnicity, religion, politics, and world events from the time in which the toys were created; and documenting the hopes, dreams, technological advancements, and economic successes and failures of a society. Through these subjects and more, the museum will continue to foster an adult audience with targeted programming.
Program short-term success will be gauged by achieving status as a study resource for art, art history,
architecture, and material culture students at local educational institutions
and beyond; the development of an appreciation
of fine-scale miniatures as a contemporary art form; and the dissemination of a
passion for collecting and the importance of proper preservation and storage
for future enjoyment.
Long-term success includes achieving
status as a resource for the cultivation of creativity and imagination;
developing partnerships with other arts and culture organizations in the
community, garnering support and introducing new adult audiences to the
institution; and becoming a resource for miniature artists, toy collector, and
enthusiast communities and their associated organizations, and local colleges
Program success will be monitored by an
increase in individual interaction with the organization in terms of newsletter
registrations, repeat visitation, program attendance, and volunteers; and positive feedback from
program participants and museum visitors.
In March of 2015, the museum hosted a Communiversity course through the University of Missouri - Kansas City. The course lectured on museum history and the collection with the opportunity for those who completed the course to become museum docents. The majority did and the museum's volunteer corps is as strong as it was prior to the renovation.
museum's collection is strong in depth and breadth, and is continually growing. We strive to create
on-going programming for our core audiences, including multi-generational
families, adults, school-aged children, and tourists. The programming creates context and helps our guests explore the many facets of our collections.
As a museum with a relatively small budget and staff, our biggest programmatic challenge
is having enough resources. With the one of the nation's largest collections of antique toys and the
world's largest collection of fine-scale miniatures, we have the potential to provide
exceptional interpretation and educational programming. However, we currently
lack the resources needed to reach our full potential. Additional funding would allow us to increase
the frequency of changing exhibitions and program offerings for all ages.
Berry has an EMBA from the Bloch School of Management at University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) and has worked in both for profit and non-profit organizations. She brings over 25 years of experience in operations, management, sales, and marketing, and teaches leadership as an adjunct professor at UMKC.
Dobbins received her M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York. She has worked in various capacities of escalating responsibility and expertise in the museum industry for 16 years. Dobbins is a noted speaker and author in the field and has vast experience from participation on numerous boards and committees.
Taylor is pursuing a M.A. in Art History from the University of Missouri - Kansas City and received a B.A. in History from Friends University. Her 18 years of experience in history and museum capacities includes Director of Tourism and Visitor Relations at Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C. and Historic Interpreter at Historic Mount Vernon.
Pikarksy received a M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York and a B.A. in History and Business Administration, Marketing Concentration from Truman State University. She has also completed a Fundraising Certificate from the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Her 8 years of professional experience in all aspects of art, history, and science museums includes institutions in Kansas, Missouri, and New York, as well as presentations at local and national conferences.
museum continues to mature and has taken the next step on the path to long-term sustainability. We are currently beginning
another chapter of growth as we work toward maximizing the capabilities and possibilities in our new physical structure and layout. While it is exciting, it continues to be stressful for the staff to maintain
balance with meeting today's needs and planning for the future. Yet, we have come very far over the past few years and look forward to where else we can go!
an outside review of the museum in 2004-2005, the board elected to increase its
size. Previously composed of two members of each of the founding families and
two representatives of UMKC, the board expanded to include community
representatives in 2006. The secretary and museum's executive director also sit
on the board, but are non-voting members. In 2012, the board began to enact its
strategic plan, which included a further expansion of the board with a focus on
community members and diversity. As board members complete their term limits, new members are chosen for their ability to represent the strategic needs of the
institution, from marketing to architecture and facilities, and for their expertise in
the museum collection.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
main source of operations for the museum comes from the endowment, entrance
fees, and donors. The board has identified the need to grow
our annual budget to support programming, a more robust exhibit schedule, and
marketing of events. The board and staff recently implemented the plan designed to increase the museum’s income. The plan’s strategies included growing
the endowment, community fundraising, underwriting for exhibits and
programming, and participation in grant programs. The board worked diligently to prepare the institution for the renovation that were the
result of strategic planning processes, which uncovered the need for changes to
the museum building as well as interpretation and exhibition.
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
1055 Broadway Blvd., Suite 130, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
816.842.0944 | email@example.com
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