If you're into dolls, there are a few collections and exhibits in Arkansas that you'll want to be aware of. Virginia Arnett and a few of her dollsThis is Virginia Arnett and she's heavily into dolls. She's the owner, curator, guide and chief of surgery at the Twentieth Century Doll Museum and Doll Hospital in Newport. She repairs and collects dolls. Over the years she has repaired and collected thousands of them. They cover the floors. They fill the display cases. They stack on the furniture. They line the walls. I did not ask whether or not she has a wazoo, but if she does you can bet she has dolls out it.

Nancy Reagan DollPresident Dolls. First Lady Dolls. Baby Dolls. Pop Star Dolls. Movie Star Dolls. Television Star Dolls. Kewpie Dolls. Plastic Dolls. Paper Dolls. Rag Dolls. Superhero Dolls (action figures, sorry). Fairy Tale Dolls. Monster Dolls. Troll Dolls, Elvis Dolls, Urkel Dolls, Donnie and Marie Dolls, Wrestler Dolls. Walking, talking, wetting, electronic, mechanical, ceramic, human-hair, plastic hair, animal dolls, vegetable dolls, and some dolls I don't even know WHAT they are. But she has THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS OF THEM.

Strangely, Ralph, Norton and Louisor perhaps mercifully, there are very few Barbies and G.I. Joes in Ms. Arnett's collection. I guess that she just figures that trying to amass a thorough collection of those two icons of popular culture could overwhelm her resources. But she seems to have just about everything else.

Visit the Twentieth Century Doll Museum and Doll Hospital in Newport, 2005 Eastern Drive (Off hwy 67 take Brandenburg to Eastern), 501-523-2194. Call ahead because the attraction is attatched to a private residence.

Other doll exhibits: I have visited the Gay Nineties Button and Doll Museum at Eureka Springs on highway 62 (call 501-253-9321). The museum is at the entrance to Onyx Cave, just in case all members of your party aren't interested in dolls. The exhibits are not labelled or guided, so you're just left looking at a roomful of buttons and dolls and glassware and tableware.

There's a roomful of antique dolls at the Pine Bluff and Jefferson County Historical Museum in Pine Bluff. Take Hwy 65 South from Little Rock, 870-541-5402. It's housed in the old railroad depot. There are a goodly number of dolls (including the rare nodding Beatle dolls) at the Saint Francis County Museum in Forrest City.

So there. Knock yourself out.

...and more dolls.


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