A Doll’s Life
The best doll hospitals and toy repair services
After 109 years in business, the New York Doll Hospital closed its doors in May. But that doesn’t mean your child’s favorite toy is now a goner once an eye or limb goes missing. Here, three excellent resources for beloved dolls and plushies in need of a little TLC.
The Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop is one of the oldest in the country, with five restorers and more than 100 years of doll restoration experience among them. Services include everything from patching leather body parts to restyling hair to cleaning, repairing, and restoring plushies. President Stacey Zagrodzki says broken limbs are the most common injury, though she sees a lot of bald dolls—hair shorn by scissor-wielding toddlers (they can re-implant hair). Evaluations are free, and in their 60 years of operation, they’ve never met a doll they couldn’t fix. Visit the site for instructions on how to mail in a toy for repair.
The Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop
3947 12 Mile Road
Berkley, Michigan 48072
The Madame Alexander Doll Company store, with more than 600 dolls and sets inspired by Eloise and Little Women, has its own hospital, where dolls of any lineage (not just Madame Alexander dolls) can be brought for repair. Hospital staff work Tuesday through Friday, from 9am to 4pm; appointments are not required for evaluations. Cost of repair is based on the damage, but an example of the cost for rejoining an 8 inch doll is $30, and larger dolls slightly more.
Madame Alexander Doll Company
615 West 131st Street
While the American Girl Doll Hospital is equipped to handle the worst of injuries (re-attaching a head is $14), not all doll repairs require major surgery. Owners can opt for a “wellness visit,” during which a doll’s skin is cleaned and hair brushed—and the doll is returned in a hospital gown with a certificate. The cost is $14, plus $6.95 shipping. Doll ear piercings are in the offering, too. They’ll work on non-American Girl dolls as well; most repairs take two to three weeks.
American Girl Doll Hospital
609 Fifth Avenue
—Photograph by JellyBean Pictures