This fun museum in Alliance, Ohio, embraces the nostalgia of the pop culture phenomenon and delves into the Scandinavian lore surrounding trolls.
Trolls get a bad name these days now that the word has become synonymous with Internet loudmouths and bullies. But there was a time when trolls — specifically, the wild-haired dolls and pencil-toppers many of us remember from our youth — held a special place in our hearts with their adorable brand of, dare we say it, ugliness.
The Troll Hole Museum in the northeast Ohio city of Alliance embraces that nostalgia across the first and second floors of two adjoining storefronts in the center of town. But it also delves into the Scandinavian lore surrounding trolls that makes a visit educational as well. The backstory on how troll dolls became part of pop culture and remained so for years is particularly interesting.
The museum is the creation of Sherry Groom, who started as merely a collector of troll dolls before her collection grew to the point where it could serve as the cornerstone of a small attraction. Tours are guided and tickets can be purchased in advance for those who want to visit at a certain time.
During the first stop of the guided portion of the tour, visitors are invited to head upstairs and explore fun displays that include a troll-size version of Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, complete with troll dolls representing various NFL teams filling the stands.
The guided tour covers folklore related to trolls — including a cabin-like room where a “troll tooth” is on display — while also delving into how the 1960s toy fad grew into a pop-culture phenomenon that lasted well into the 1990s and became the basis for three DreamWorks animated movies, beginning with “Trolls” in 2016.
The highlight of the visit is the finale: the opportunity to spend some time browsing Groom’s Guinness World Record collection of more than 9,000 troll dolls — displayed on row upon row of shelving that stretches wall to wall, floor to ceiling. 228 E. Main St., Alliance, Ohio 44601, 330/596-1157, thetrollhole.com