The Nation’s Largest Black Doll Collection Is Right in Our Backyard
Seven years go, Deb Britt’s massive, personal collection of black dolls needed to find a new home and suddenly, the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture was born.
But Deb will be the first person to tell that you despite being right in Mansfield, very few people who visit the museum are actually from Massachusetts.
“We’ve had people come in from all over the country, a family from Colorado just last week, a family from Oregan booked reservations for next week but people in-state just don’t know we exist,” said Britt.
The museum has tons of great reviews from all over the country, including this Trip Advisor review from someone in Iowa:
This museum is somewhat of a hidden gem. A labor of love and dedication to purpose by Founder/Director Debra Britt and her family. There are thousands of dolls ranging from topsy-turvy to dolls made of rubber and synthetic plastics, to Black Barbies, and dolls representing Bob Marley, Barack and Michelle Obama, famous Black musicians and athletes. The associated stories tell of the trials and tribulations of Blacks in American society and also their triumphs. We spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at this small museum, and hope to return sometime in the future to learn more. - DMGAmes_Iowa, Trip Advisor Review
There are more than 7,000 dolls on display, the oldest being a Topsy Turvy doll from 1849 and the more modern being a collection of Black Panther figurines and Beautiful Blessing Dolls that are manufactured in Braintree.
The museum isn’t just for kids. There are dozens of different themed rooms including a G.I. Joe Room; a music-themed room with artists like Bob Marley; Barbies; fashion galleries; Major League Sports; movie stars and characters like Black Panther and Star Trek; and the always popular Historical Room.
“I think people still like the historical room because it goes from Civil War up to the present, including unknown figures like Louis Temple, a famous black whaler from New Bedford, the first black congressman, and a whole room of President Obama and Michelle items," Britt said. "I find myself doing a lot of other planning for people because once they are here, they ask where else they can go so we send them to New Bedford to see the history there and maybe over to Plymouth."
If you plan on making the visit, make sure to book in advance.