PONTIAC, Ill. (WMBD) — Shirley McCrady is living out her dollhouse dream.

When the Pontiac native retired, it gave her and her husband, Ken an avenue to open Pontiac Doll and Toy Museum back in November.

“The mission was to get all these dolls out of our house because we were filled. We were totally filled up. The basement was filled up, every flat surface in our house had a doll on it,” she said.

“I’ve had this in my head since I was a child. So people say, ‘How did you figure all this out?’ I’ve always known! I’ve just always known.”

Shirley McCrady

At Pontiac Doll and Toy Museum, you’ll find stuffed animals, toys and dolls, but the big draw is the more than 300 Barbies. 

“She really enjoys guiding people through and telling stories about all the dolls and toys,” Ken said. “She has stories about each and every piece that she has.”

Many of the dolls have history, some dating back to the 1920s. Others are even part of Shirley’s childhood. 

“I have all my dolls from when I was a kid,” said Shirley. “So I have always collected my dolls because I took very good care of them. Very few are missing. They’re pretty much all here.”

Shirley said the goal of the Barbie room, museum and resale shop is to bring back people’s childhood memories with the toys they know and love.

She said, “I think when everybody sees the dolls that we carry—no matter what age you are—you’re going to see something that you go, ‘Awww! I had that doll!’ Or ‘That was my favorite doll.’ Or ‘I still have that doll.’” 

Whether visitors are shopping or just taking a stroll down memory lane, Shirley is hoping to bring joy. 

“This was my goal. This was it. And now just make people happy with toys and dolls.”

The Pontiac Doll and Toy Museum is located at 218 N. Main St. in Pontiac.