Shaanti International museum of costumes and Dolls opens doors in Amherstburg

By Joel Charron

The Malden Community & Cultural Centre is the new home of the Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls.

The museum opened its door for the first time at its new permanent location this past Sunday and was welcome by doll lovers of all ages and community leaders.

The Shaanti International Museums of Costumes and Dolls contains approximately 3,000 dolls with the oldest being circa 1850.

Museum president Raj Varma said this is the first time all the dolls have been under one roof.

“It’s exciting,” said Varma. “In the past we were scattered in Windsor.”


The Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls features hundred of dolls from various cultures from throughout the world.

Varma called it’s new home a “perfect fit” for the Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls because Essex County is “global” and is home to a variety of cultures.

“This is one way of preserving our culture and heritage so everyone can appreciate it,” said Varma. “This is the best location we found.”

He also believed it will benefit as the building is also the site of the Amherstburg Farmers Market and wine tours during the course of the year.

Varma said the museum was started in 1980 when he and four colleagues within Windsor’s planning department decided to embark on the venture. Jessica Lori Riley, daughter of co-founder Robert Riley, is the curator at the not-for-profit museum.

The town’s manager of culture and tourism, Anne Rota said she was pleased with the amount of people who attended the opening, estimating that roughly 50 people visited Amherstburg’s newest attraction.

“It’s a soft opening today,” said Rota. “We’re planning a ribbon cutting sometime in the spring to coincide with the Amherstburg Farmers Market.”

Rota called the dolls an “amazing collection” stated that the Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls is a “good fit for Amherstburg.”

“It’s another nice asset for Amherstburg,” she said.


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