Just off of U.S. Highway 50 at the Pollock Pines exit in El Dorado County down a sloped driveway is Ruth's Doll Museum.
If there's a Hall of Fame for dolls, this is it.
Who would own a doll museum? Marlene Ruth is the proprietor, the enthusiast and the heart and soul of this rare collection.
"I've been a doll person since I was maybe five [years old]," Ruth said. "I have my whole collection here."
Collections don't start big and this one took time. A lot of time. Ruth started to assemble doll upon doll upon doll in 1965.
"I collected, my mother collected, we collected together," Ruth said. "That's how we started."
When you collect dolls and figurines for over 50 years, people donate their own collections because Ruth is the type of person you would do that for once your home starts to get cramped.
"The house began to have all the dolls in every room," Ruth said.
Yes, Ruth's house was overrun with dolls, some would even say dominated by dolls. Four thousand dolls, to be exact.
Some might ask the question, "is that too many?"
"No, this is not hoarding," Ruth said. "This is collecting, I'm a collector. I don't bring in everything and throw it on the floor."
As Ruth kept adding to her passion, there was a need for more room. So, she carefully moved the dolls from her home and opened the museum just off the Pony Express Trail.
Ruth's Doll Museum has been open since last May, and she says business has been good. Buses bring tourists from Apple Hill and others have expressed interest in visiting from the Bay Area.
"It's just a collection that keeps on growing," Ruth said. "And it's growing now."
Ruth’s Doll Museum is located at 5441 Pony Express Trail near the Pollock Pines exit off Hwy. 50. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday -Sunday and group tours are available on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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