"Dolls bring interest and joy to people of all ages. Traditionally dolls have been toys for children. For them, dolls are magical; they become their imaginary friends, babies, role models for who they want to become, such as a nurse or bride. However, dolls collected by adults bring back memories from their childhood, or may have historical importance, beauty or financial value. Dolls are the oldest known toy, dating as early as 2,000 BC. It was common to find dolls in the graves of children in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Then, most dolls were made of wood. Wealthier families' children had pottery dolls. Europe later became the center for doll making. Around 1860, after the Civil War, doll making became an industry in the United States.
Over the years, dolls have been made from every imaginable material: bisque, celluloid, china, clay, cloth, corn husks, paper, polymer, porcelain, resin, rubber, vinyl, wax, wood, bone, ivory, paper mache and leather. The invention of plastic after World War II, led to the manufacture of a new type of doll.
Movene, John and their daughter Marcia have since passed away. Their extensive doll collection is on permanent display at the Community Arts Center for the community to enjoy."
—Mary Lynn Mahla, Curator
Movene L. Ponas, RN, and John Ponas, parents of Marcia Ponas, started collecting dolls long before their daughter was born. Movene had an extensive doll collection including some of her mother’s dolls as well as some of her very first dolls. Some of the dolls date back to 1920. Mr. & Mrs. Ponas donated their doll collection to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County in 1987, in memory of their daughter Marcia. They also donated funds to build the museum and cabinetry where the dolls are housed.
Marcia Ponas (1946-1985) was very active in the Johnstown public schools in the area. She graduated from Westmont Hilltop High School in 1964, where she was a cheerleader, National Honor Society Student, student council, Y-teen, pep club, and on the high school yearbook. Marcia was a Girl Scout for six years and earned thirteen merit badges. For three years she attended University of Pittsburgh of Johnstown before transferring to University of Pittsburgh in 1968, graduating with a BA in Liberal Arts. After 7 years working as a social worker in Oregon, she returned to Johnstown, developed an interest in interior design and attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Arts. Marcia was married to Richard Warrick, an attorney for the Department of Defense. They moved to Washington, DC, Oklahoma City, OK, and Dallas, Texas. Marcia, on occasion, would purchase dolls for her mother, which became part of her mother’s doll collection. Among other interests, Marcia had a fondness for animals and was a regular volunteer at the Oklahoma Zoo. She died in 1985 in Dallas, Texas. Her mother’s extensive doll collection was donated in Marcia’s memory to the Community Arts Center in 1987.
The Marcia Ponas Doll Museum exhibits and features over 877 dolls on permanent display. The main categories are listed below:
Community Arts Center
of Cambria County
1919-2005 & 1917-1999 (respectively)
10:00am - 5:00pm, Monday — Friday
10:00am - 3:00pm, Saturday
Ponas Doll Museum