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Tara museum acquires Franklin Mint doll collection

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro is filled with curios and historical artifacts relating to Margaret Mitchell's famous, "Gone With the Wind," novel, and its movie adaptation.

With the recent acquisition of rare dolls designed by The Franklin Mint, the museum will have items treasured by collectors and Scarlett O'Hara fans alike.

This week, the museum added the complete collection of "Gone With the Wind" dolls produced by The Franklin Mint. The collection, made in the 1980s and 1990s, contains 21 dolls fashioned after the cast of the 1939 "Gone With The Wind" movie.

The Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB), which oversees the Road to Tara Museum, acquired the dolls about three weeks ago, according to Marketing and Communications Director Megan Drew. She said a local man, Morris Smith, donated the collection to the museum after the recent passing of his wife, Doris, who was a long-time collector of the dolls.

"The museum is a very niche market ... you have to be a 'Gone With the Wind' fan, or lover of history or the Civil War," said Drew. "Doll collectors are another niche market. The replica Tara Plantation we have has been a big hit with doll collectors. We are glad to add this new set that will not only appeal to 'Gone With the Wind' fans, but doll collectors."

According to Drew, The collection features 19, 18-to-22-inch dolls representing the various fashions of Scarlett O'Hara, the story's central character, as well as those of other main characters, such as Rhett Butler, Ashley Wilkes, and Melanie Hamilton.

It also contains a 12-inch replica of Bonnie Blue Butler (the offspring of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler) as well as a 13-inch interpretation of "Katie O'Hara," a childhood version of Scarlett O'Hara.

"We even have one [doll] that was recalled, because she was supposed to have green eyes, but they came out brown," Drew said. "It's the one that is valued the most in the collection, because only a few were sold."

Drew said the entire collection of dolls is worth "thousands of dollars."

Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Pat Duncan said the dolls add a "contemporary" element to some of the museum's more historical offerings.

"We have arguably the largest static collection of 'Gone With the Wind' memorabilia, and this just adds to the collection," Duncan said. "People who collect 'Gone With the Wind' items will find it fascinating. It's [the new exhibit is] the largest collection [of dolls] we have in the museum, and it is the only complete collection.

"It just gives us more diversity of memorabilia in the collection," he added.

The Road to Tara Museum is in the Jonesboro Depot Welcome Center, located at 104 North Main St., in Jonesboro. For more information, call (770) 478-4800.