MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The History Center of Olmsted County in Rochester is getting people in the Halloween spirit — while also making their skin crawl.

For the first time, it now has a Creepy Doll Exhibit, and it’s giving the small museum international attention.

“We’re just lucky we had some [dolls] in really good shape,” said curator Dan Nowakowski.

Once toys for children decades ago — made between the 1850s and the 1930s — they are now nightmare fuel for adults today.

Nowakowski says to get in the Halloween spirit, the history center held a contest on Facebook, asking people to vote which doll was the creepiest.

(credit: CBS)

“It just took off,” Nowakowski said.

Social media fun turned into international attention, with news agencies far and wide wanting to learn more about this humble museum’s spooky sensation.

“We weren’t anticipating as much publicity as we have gotten through this, and actually we were only going to display the three winners, and now because of people’s demand to see other dolls from the collection, we decided to actually create an entire exhibit around them,” Nowakowski said.

He says the dolls don’t carry any haunted back stories, and he’s hopeful visitors will look past their eerie expressions — if possible.

“Then when you actually study it, and look at it, and read the description, you’re just like, ‘Oh, I can see, OK, when this was first made, it was actually very pristine and very good and taken care of,’” Nowakowski said.

The exhibit will be on display through December 1. For those hoping to view it on Halloween, the history center will stay open a couple extra hours until 7 p.m.

Jeff Wagner