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Paradise Doll Museum and hospital is truly a doll’s paradise

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From the outside, the Paradise Doll Museum and Hospital, located at 119 S. 6th St in Towanda, is small and simple. The museum is actually full of surprises. Walking through the door one is instantly greeted with a warm welcoming breeze. One stands in a small room with a table and two chairs, and a shelf at the top of the wall lined with different dolls all shapes and sizes all around the room. The museum owner, Barbara Brush, greets her costumers with a smile. Walking through the first doorway there’s a room that seems like it would be fairly big, if it wasn’t filled top to bottom with dolls, doll houses and little ceramics. To the left is her work area, a cozy space with a workbench. Little dogs run around her feet.

Brush has collected and restored dolls since 1988. She and her husband Jim opened their museum in Towanda 25 years ago. She collects everything between dolls and their accessories, to stuffed animals and puppets. She has made dolls to sell, but most dolls are just on display. When Brush opened her museum she had about 500 dolls, now she owns six to seven thousand.

“I have seven granddaughters, so I would go to garage sales and buy little dolls to fix up so they would have something to play with. That was about 25 years ago,” Brush said. “When I lived in Texas I fixed up more than 400 dolls, and I didn’t know what to do with them so I decided to display them.”

Jim, said he helps his wife a little. He does most of the building of doll beds. Even though it doesn’t bring in a bunch of money, it brings in enough to keep the doors open. Jim, said it’s good for his wife. It makes her happy and keeps her busy.

“It just gives me something to do. If I didn’t do this, I’d just sit around getting old. It’s also a good way to meet new people. People like to look at all the dolls; people bring in their grandchildren to look around,” Brush said.

Brush said she loves restoring dolls because they’re all so unique. Sage Brown, 9, said there were so many dolls, and rarely saw the same doll or toy twice.

“The lady showed me a baby doll she made. She put a little heart in it so when you pressed a button, you could feel its heartbeat. It was so cool. Also, there were multiple porcelain dolls, they were about three feet tall and had the most beautiful dresses on,” Brown, said.

Jim said that they mostly get their dolls from donations, or garage sales. It was Barbara’s home on and off growing up, and she has family here. She started collecting and restoring dolls in 1985 in Texas, later moved back to Towanda.

“I have no idea how many dolls I’ve restored. I couldn’t even begin to tell you, more than I can count, I’ve done this for 25 years, that’s a lot of dolls,” Brush said.

The museum has about eight different rooms filled with dolls. Including everything from N-sync and Spice Girl Barbie dolls to puppets and little trolls.

Brown said there were three dolls that faces are a dark black face, they had bright eyes and a white mouth, and she said it was kind of creepy but also pretty cool.

“I would probably go back once they get some new things. It’s a really neat place,” Brown said.

The museum is on the internet; they’re quite popular on Facebook. The couple said they are quite happy just the way they are and are doing well financially. Even though money isn’t a problem at the moment, they need to be prepared.

“If anything ever happened to the museum, the dolls would probably be given to my daughter or sold and auctioned off,” Brush said.

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Paradise Doll Museum and hospital is truly a doll’s paradise