Here are the three amazing women responsible for the Swiss Center's new doll collection. Terry Goetz (left) is on the Swiss Center's Board of Directors; Nell (center) is the doll creator; and Kirsten Dobson (right) was the first to recognize that Nell's dolls needed to come to the Swiss Center of North America.
The dolls were purchased in the 1980’s by Mrs. Doris Geiger. After her passing, the dolls were part of an estate sale that Kirsten attended. Kirsten—"I saw the dolls and they were so stunning that I knew they needed to stay together as a collection." Kirsten and Swiss Center Board member Terry Goetz talked about the need to have these creations available for others to see, and that they should all come to the Swiss Center. Kirsten,Terry and Swiss Center President, Beth Zurbuchen later visited Nell at her home in Milwaukee, WI to get to know the artist and her craft. Nell started making the dolls in 1974. They are named MAYAD dolls, a combination of the names of her two children, Maya and Adrian.
Nell is a native of Zurich, Switzerland. Her art background includes training in watercolor, oil, porcelain painting as well pottery, ceramics and needlework. In this picture Nell is holding one of the head molds she created for the dolls. She also researched each Swiss canton and subregion to produce authentic costuming in miniature.
While the Swiss Center is available only by appointment due to COVID-19, we are still here for you and our Swiss inspired community. From Nell’s authentic dolls to archival documents, the Swiss Center continues its work to collect and preserve what can connect us to our heritage.
Enjoy the photo gallery of the Weidmann MAYAD doll collection.
You can make sure that our immigrant history and stories like Nell’s will survive for others to see by donating today to the Swiss Center. Please click here. We thank you.