Madeline Rislow

Kansas City
About the Speaker

Dr. Madeline Rislow is an art historian, currently serving as the senior manager of learning and engagement at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City. She has taught art history at the Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and, most recently, Missouri Western State University where she was associate professor and director of art history. While she is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art, she has also published and presented on contemporary art, virtual reality, and popular culture through varied frameworks.

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Underwritten Presentations Available

Collecting in Missouri: How Two Kansas City Women’s Love for "Small Things" Grew a National Museum

In 1982, Mary Harris Francis (1927-2005) and Barbara Hall Marshall (1923-2021) combined their respective passions for historic toys and fine-scale miniature art to form a museum near Kansas City's Country Club Plaza. The idea to do so came about after the two friends returned from a trip with new purchases for their ever-expanding collections. Francis’ mother exclaimed that if they got one more thing, they’d have to start a museum!  Forty years later, The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (T/m) houses over 90,000 objects—and growing. Each miniature is a testament to the artist's keen ability to achieve incredible detail at a seemingly impossible scale. A broad array of toys—the largest number on public display in the nation— serves as a catalyst for conversation reflecting on the connections between past and present.  Rislow will delve into what it means to "collect" in Missouri. Using the backdrop of T/m, the presentation will explore how we all share stories and create memories through the process of collecting. The presentation will include highlights from the broader T/m collection. Venues have the option to customize content to focus more specifically on either toys or fine-scale miniatures. 

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