DOLL uniVERSE is a nonprofit venture that supports the work of the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry, which has a museum open every day, continual online poetry contests, free workshops and more.
The museum, started in 2012, has always had the vision of creating an experience of poetry for people and has always used materials on hand to create the exhibits for that experience. The ROMP Rummage Store, established in 2016, has supported the work of ROMP by being a thrift store that recycles goods for the public.
Thus, recycling has been a mission of ROMP from the beginning. So recycled dolls, along with personalized poetry, show what DOLL uniVERSE is all about.
In August 2018, a fire caused extensive smoke and water damage to the rummage store, which had to close. The ROMP Rummage store managed to reopen in January 2019 in a different location. Doll uniVERSE is a permanent part of the rummage store now.
ROMP director Shaun Perkins grew up with an extensive doll collection and has always enjoyed them, especially those made for playing, not displaying. Her grandmother (Gangy) Ruby Wilkinson was a great doll clothes-maker, and she always said, “We can’t have any naked baby dolls in the house.”
Once Gangy took home Shaun’s Giggles doll because it was lying on the floor with no clothes on. Gangy made her a red organza dress and bloomers and brought her back and put her on the dresser when Shaun came home from school.
Giggles still proudly wears that red dress.