The Other Side of Old Dolls

20120140026For a lot of people, old dolls are creepy. Over the years, the media has painted dolls as psycho killers (Chucky, anyone?), and with the distorted bodies and missing parts that are portrayed in movies or shows, it’s no wonder that viewers get a phobia!
I think, instead, that dolls should be viewed as something that were once loved and treasured. For some, they could be the physical embodiment of sentimentality, and for others, they are. Take this doll, for example. This is a Charlie Chaplin doll from the early 1900’s (probably from around 1915), and was played with by Julius Coller II from Shakopee as a child. Does this look like a creepy doll to you? A doll’s label all depends on how well it has survived the years since its owner last played with it. This doll is in relatively good shape concerning its age. It’s just a little rough around the edges from use and the ever moving feet of time.

Take a look at the next photo, which is a less abused, nearly mint, similarly dressed version of the Charlie Chaplin doll above.

Cat-1102_002_0As you can see, Julius’s doll had gained much wear and tear from the love that the little boy had thrust upon him. Shown below is an image of the little boy that loved this doll so.20120140819


Just for fun, here’s a photo of Charlie Chaplin holding a Charlie Chaplin d
oll in 1916. Dolls aren’t so creepy after all when you remember the love and joy they brought children!


When you’re walking through an antique store or museum and see sad looking, or yes, creepy looking dolls, try and remember that like the man behind the Charlie Chaplin character, every doll has something else behind its worn appearance – the face of a once treasured toy.


Member Appreciation Event

We shook things up a bit this year at our annual Member’s Appreciation Event (3/16/2017). Instead of the same old- same old treats and speaker… we decided to play!

The exhibit scavenger hunt was a huge hit.  Members dug deep into the exhibits looking for snippets of photos to fill in their sheets.  They collaborated – or snuck peeks with each other to try and fill in every blank.

I have to say, it was pretty difficult – but tons of fun!  Before drawing the winner’s name, I read off the answers to plenty of groans and cheers.  The was most difficult picture to find was of fake pancakes found on the stove in the atrium. No one could figure out what the heck the photo was.


Play didn’t stop there – we moved into the library for Exhibit Bingo!  Using exhibit images instead of numbers on the bingo cards was another way to learn more about the exhibits, while enjoying a little friendly competition, and some laughs.  We had plenty of winners this evening.

Oh yeah we also included the same-old, same-old treats too.


Thanks again to all our members!  We appreciate your faithful support, and wouldn’t be here without you!  THANKS!!


First blog post

The Scott County Historical Society (SCHS) has tons of stories, images, and “stuff” to share.  We figure one of the best ways of sharing is through a blog.  With this first post, we thought we’d tell you a little bit about ourselves.

We are located in a really cool museum that has four exhibit galleries (really, five if you include the front atrium); research library; amazing programs; extensive collection; museum store; plus great staff!

Exhibit galleries:


Main gallery: Currently on display (through Sept 2018) “Wish You Were Here: Tourism in Scott County“.  Sit in the High Roller rollercoaster car – shoot cans in the shooting gallery – try on Renaissance clothing & hats – see if you’re tall enough to be a jockey – smell some amazing & horrible aromatics & more.  The gallery theme changes approximately every 12 to 18 months.

20170119_093100Center Hall gallery: Currently on display (through May 2017) “The Minnesota River“.  Listen to riverboat horns, river songs – check out how ice was cut for use in ice boxes – discover all the ferry landings along the Scott County border – cool images too!  This gallery theme changes approximately every 6 to 8 months.  Coming in June: “Over There & At Home: Scott County in World War I

20170302_094725East Gallery: Currently on display “Maurice Stans: From Shakopee to the White House“.  Learn what it took for a geeky kid from a small town to make it as a U.S. Cabinet member.  From his Grandfather’s brewery to Watergate – it’s all covered here.

20170302_095151West Gallery: Currently on display “The Dakota in Scott County“.  Learn the history of the Native American residents of Scott County from pre-contact to today.  This gallery is a little thin right now.  Given funding, we hope to add a large, immersive and hands-on bark lodge to the gallery.

Research Library:

We’ve got what you need to dig up your ancestors (well, not literally).  Our resources are fantastic – from a surname index, to plat maps, to census records, to every newspaper every printed in the county on microfilm, to reference books.  Oh yeah, did I mention we are a Family Search affiliate library (meaning, you can order a microfilm from them and have it sent to us – where you can view it to your hearts desire).  There are two digital microfilm readers and two analog ones, plus we’ve got Wi-Fi and an amazing library volunteer that is eager to help you in your search.


  • Kids Kraft: offered FREE the last Saturday of each month (except December, June, July, Aug).  The program introduces children to museums, supports literacy and provTrin4th-8-filtererdides a wonderful opportunity for great family fun!
  • K-8 Education: programs meet MN Standards for Teaching benchmarks, are hands-on, include pre – post-activities, can be delivered onsite at the museum or school, include history-related activities and teacher resources.
  • Talks & Presentations: offered on a monthly basis, from Heirloom Gardens, to African-Americans in Scott County to researching your house history, we bring in authors and experts to discuss a wide range of topics tied to history and relevant to today.
  • Summer Library Programs: offered throughout the summer we bring a little history and a craft to each library where kids and adults can learn a bit about our local history.
  • Special events: offered whenever possible – such as: Spring Break Week – drop-in activities for kids; Youth Archaeology workshops; Women’s March & MCCL Rally story gathering; Winter Holiday Festival (and bake sale – yum!); to hand-craft workshops.
  • DSC00966Internships: offered primarily in the summer we provide opportunities for college students to receive hands-on experience in research, exhibit development, education delivery and more.  Students receive a great introduction to the field of local history and non-profit work, as well as help them build contacts and personal interests.
  • All Things Minnesota Book Club: meets at 3pm the third Thursday of each month for discussions of books written by MN Authors or about Minnesota.
  • Scott County Crazy Quilters: meet at 6pm the fourth Thursday of each month to share expertise and projects – all hand-crafters are welcome.


Over 20,000 items are logged into our collections catalogue with more being added everyday. We maintain the collection according to museum best practices (which means they are… stored in archival quality materials, in temperature – humidity – light controlled environments, and are accessible to the public).  Our catalogue is also searchable on our website.  We continually accept items for the collection as long as they meet our policies – the items must be related to Scott County and fill a need in the collection.  In other words, we cannot accept old newspapers or your Mom’s wedding dress (unless the dress is from an era we haven’t already got covered).  When in doubt, call us… before pitching your old stuff, call us (952-445-0378).

We are excited to begin an inventory of over 40,000 photographic items by local photographer, Leroy Lebens.  Thanks to a Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant (Legacy Grant), we hired two full-time, temporary curatorial assistants to work exclusively on this project.  I’m sure you’ll see more on this blog related to this.

Museum Store:

store-croppedOkay – so the store is a bit tiny – but the items in it are great!  You can pick up some very unique items here, include flour sack aprons, books on local history, fridge magnets, postcards, crazy quilt starter and more.  Hey, give us suggestions for items you’d like to see in the store!

Oooo – did I mention there’s a Kerig and comfy chairs in the store too?