I visited the Tbilisi Doll Museum partly for the kitsch and partly because I’d passed it so many times when I was here in winter it’s colorful balconies were deeply ingrained in my memory.
Based on my visit to the natural history museum in Borjormi, I was expecting a dark, damp, creepy space overcrowded with Chucky-like dolls, white eyes rolling and bright, pink cheeks curved in evil grins. But it’s nothing like that. It’s well done and the staff are friendly.
The first level houses the older collection of antique puppets and dolls from around the world, several of them reminding me of dolls my grandmother used to bring us back from her travels—long since tossed in the trash due to my Mom’s overzealous decluttering. (My sister and I are still working on forgiveness).
There are also a number of mechanical-musical dolls that dance, drink water, and play instruments. Although none of them crept me out enough to satisfy my inner Tim Burton, I could at least see the late night, Halloween party potential.
The third floor was my favorite, with a modern exhibit of dolls and puppets, most of them for sale. (I wanted to go on a spending spree for my nephew and myself but controlled myself due to my current lack of qualifying income). Like several Georgian museums I’ve been to in the regions, the rooms on the 3rd floor were closed and we had to ask staff to open them. The second room housed a collection of Georgian folk dolls from the 1960s and 70s with a table in the middle of the room for doll-making parties.
The second floor is the Children’s Art Museum, which for the next month has an exhibit of Georgian student paintings and sculptures on environmental issues. I’ve seen and judged A LOT of student environmental poster contests over the years and the skill level on these was impressive. I didn’t take any photos though, sorry. On the same floor, there’s also an exhibit of rotating children’s artwork created in the museum’s own art studios. Also very nice.
If you’re in Tbilisi, it’s worth a visit: 17a Shavteli Street, Tbilisi Georgia. 995 532 996511