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A display at The Creepy Doll Museum. Photo by Ian Vansegbrook.

A Doll of a Time at the Creepy Doll Museum

Written by
Ian Vansegbrook
and
and
November 4, 2023
A Doll of a Time at the Creepy Doll Museum
A display at The Creepy Doll Museum. Photo by Ian Vansegbrook.

Fans of Annabelle, Chucky, and that weird room at your gramma’s house were given a rare treat this Halloween, as the Creepy Doll Museum had its 5th anniversary. Hosted every year at The Theatre on King, this curiously curated show includes dozens of dolls, each with their own personalities and stories ready to be gawked at. 

Started as a joke after co-founder Ben Hatcher found a horrifying doll tucked into a freezer after moving into a new house, Hatcher was later gifted two other frightening figures by Kathryn Bahun, and from there, the collection blossomed. Based on a $10 or pay-what-you-can system, they use their funds to better take care of the dolls and to cover their time. 

“When we started out, we were just hoping to get enough to get a pitcher of beer,” said Hatcher. “Now we get a few thousand people through.” 

Photo by Ian Vansegbrook.

Now home to over thirty dolls, their collection continues to grow as they receive donations from all over Canada. Anybody with a doll and not enough time to love them can ship them straight to the museum where they will be lovingly taken care of. You can find them at @creepydollmuseum on Instagram and Facebook. The show’s expansion includes new locations as well. While they always have had a show in Peterborough, they’ve extended beyond, having shows in surrounding towns, and this year one in Toronto which gained a large media presence. 

Every doll has a placard in front of it, detailing its history, personality, hobbies, and actions. Originally written by the two curators, they were soon overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of dolls they came into ownership of. Now they are written by Ontario authors and are full of charm, mystique, and tongue-in-cheek humour. My personal favourite, Claudia Cornelis, has a story that includes a study of Magic at Trent and running an apothecary, before transforming themselves into a doll. 

Photo byIan Vansegbrook.

The museum itself is all cheesy fun. Guests can expect to find spooky glowing lights throwing mood over the collection, and Bahun and Hatcher’s outfits—both handmade by Bahun—match with dolls they carry with them. The pair issue winking warnings to not touch the dolls, as their appetites may get the better of them and cause them to nibble, but encourage guests to take photos, as the dolls are very vain. 

It’s this vanity that leads to another prized tradition, the favourite doll vote. Bahun and Hatcher ask everyone as they leave who their favourite was, who they then bestow a sash to—a prized symbol among dollkind.

The museum is fun for all ages. Whether you’re a doll connoisseur, a collector yourself, chasing the high of that one fever dream of a Bed and Breakfast, or willing to confront your fear of the Uncanny Valley, this is for you. The dolls, their stories, and the company are an excellent companion to any spooky season. You’ll be supporting a local pair, and having a splendid time. And just in case you may be a little apprehensive to visit such a haunted family, for fear of fright, injury or worse, I can assure you that you will be fine so long as you follow the rules. 

Beyond that, the dolls are housed in Peterborough. They could be on your block, your neighbours, the dolls are waiting. Waiting for a forgotten door lock, an opened window. Waiting for you. 

Visit them before they visit you.

Arthur Spring Elections 2024
Miracle Territory April 20th
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
Written By
Sponsored
Arthur Spring Elections 2024
Miracle Territory April 20th
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish

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