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‘This isn’t right’: Mattapoisett Museum exhibits ‘creepy’ dolls for Halloween

Daniel Ackerman
Mattapoisett Museum President Kyle DeCicco-Carey shows off the historic doll collection.

Dozens of shiny porcelain faces greet visitors at the Mattapoisett Museum this week.

“So these are the scary dolls,” said the museum’s president Kyle CeCicco-Carey, who curated the "Creepy Dolls” exhibit alongside the pews of the 200-year-old church that houses the museum.

The historic figurines, some more than a century old, will highlight this Saturday’s Happy Haunting event, a family-friendly affair complete with spooky storytelling.

The dolls weren’t always a fright—they were once beloved by Mattapoisett’s children. Before mass-produced plastic, parents would buy porcelain doll heads from a store then make the bodies at home with sewn fabric.

DeCicco-Carey said the dolls’ ever-gazing eyes unnerve some modern-day visitors. “You see a human face, but you’re like: ‘this isn’t right,’” he said. “They’re just staring.”

Many of the figurines feature real human hair, he added.

Daniel covers the South Coast for WCAI. He comes to the station from Minnesota Public Radio, where he reported on science and the environment. Daniel has produced audio documentaries on a motley mix of topics, from the science of sewage to the history of automobile license plates. He holds a PhD in climate change ecology from the University of Minnesota. Daniel is a 2021-22 Report For America corps member.