LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Frazier History Museum officially unveiled the newest addition to the Stewart Historic Miniatures Gallery Friday.
The collection is home to thousands of rare, unique and historic miniatures and toy soldiers dating from the 18th century to the present. The addition of works from German toy makers adds to what the Frazier Museum says is the most comprehensive collection of its kind on public display in the world.
The 25,000-figure collection was donated by Charles Stewart, who began collecting toy soldiers and miniatures 25 years ago.
“Well actually the collection was taking over the house and I think they were so thrilled, my parents, when it went to the Frazier that it was actually taking over more and more of the house, so this is the place to show it,” Stewart said. “I was possibly going to sell the collection at auction, but my father, especially, said we have to keep it here in Kentucky, and I looked at and talked to a number of other museums and other places and everyone recommended the Frazier.”
The collection includes everything from soldiers and submarines to castles and zeppelins and everything in between, made by more than 140 different toy makers from around the globe.
The Stewart family, who have run the Stewart Home and School in Frankfort for 124 years, shares Charles’ and his father’s passion for the collection, but insists that Charles is the true force behind it.
“He’s the one who’s the collector, he’s the one that’s had the inspiration to put this together, he’s the one that’s the history expert and military history expert and he and my father came up with the idea that, rather than a private collection, this should be shared with everybody. So, I admire what [he’s] done and achieved and what [he’s] put together, and job well done,” said Dr. John D. Stewart II, Charles’ brother.
With the new addition, the gallery at the Frazier now showcases more than half of the entire Stewart Collection, and Charles Stewart is confident it’s in good hands.
“It’s just been incredible what they’ve done. This was the place to keep it and they’ve done a wonderful job of really showing it to everyone,” Stewart said. “And I especially would like to thank my mother and all of our family for all of their support. It’s just been incredible and it just means so much.”