The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 18, 2013

Dickens Village collection is on display at Oakwood Mall


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A small glimpse of winter — actually a glimpse of a small winter — is available in Enid.

Enid Arts Council has taken on the task of displaying an extensive collection of the Department 56 Dickens Village in Oakwood Mall. The 20-some-year collection of miniature scenes was donated to Park Avenue Thrift, and is made available in Enid courtesy of the mall, Park Avenue Thrift and Enid Arts Council.

Arts Council member Tary Davis-Johnson saw the Dickens Village collection last February in the home of its owner, Nancy Jewell. Jewel told Davis-Johnson it was the last time she was setting it up and she was disposing of the collection. Davis-Johnson took on the mission of finding a place to display the many wintry Victorian England village scenes. Oakwood Mall accepted and provided display space, with protected windows and lighting in the former Bridal Shop location. It will be up through the end of January.

Davis-Johnson encourages viewers to look for characters and their homes and businesses throughout English literature, including Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist.” Viewers will see Sherlock Holmes riding a carriage searching for a suspect, the famous flower peddler from “Pygmalion” selling her flowers in the village, and the original Salvation Army Band (formed in London) playing in the foreground on cobblestone streets.

A second display is of the Department 56 Snow Village, which was donated to display by Ed and Diane Polk. Though this collection is not as extensive, it still holds the charm and puts a smile on faces of shoppers passing by, Davis-Johnson said. Both collections are “retired” and no longer for sale in stores.

Davis-Johnson said she would love for the idea of sharing classic collections to catch on in Enid.

“There are wonderful collections that people need to share,” she said. “How many train sets are just sitting in attics that little boys and girls would love to see? We have collections in garages, homes and storage sheds that could be shared.”