The Catholic Church is a big organization. With over a billion members in pretty much every country in the world and a 2000 year history, just about everything strange that can be done has been done.
This fact helps to explain the existence of one of the most peculiar museums in the world: The Nun Doll Museum.
This unique museum is on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods in Indian River, Michigan, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a museum for dolls dressed up like nuns. At least mostly. There are a few male dolls dressed up the clothes for clergy or religious brothers, too.
And there’s tons of them! To be exact, there are 525 dolls and 20 mannequins, with 217 different habits or vestments represented. The museum website says it is the largest collection of dolls dressed like this in the United States.
So where did it come from?
The collection is the work of just two people, Wally and Sally Rogalski. Back in the 1940s when she was still a young girl, Sally started dressing her dolls in traditional Catholic habits as a hobby. She continued the hobby into her adulthood, and her husband Wally assisted her and created ways for her to display her growing self-made collection.
For many years, they simply displayed the collection in their home. Then, in 1964, they donated the collection to the shrine in Michigan. They had only one stipulation in the deal: “that no admission charge would ever be asked, so that people, rich and poor alike, would be able to see them.”
In the decades that followed, Wally and Sally continued to expand the collection, and in 1988 they received a papal blessing from St. John Paul II for their unique work!
You can take a 3D tour of the museum on Google Maps right here.