MODEL LIFE | Preserver Kaye Browning, Maysville, Kentucky

If you have not been to Maysville, Kentucky, you should definitely schedule a trip. It is a beautiful small town full of 18th century architecture, breathtaking scenery and culture. Walking the streets of the historical town is quite a treat and really a rare glimpse of times gone by. If you are lucky enough to be escorted down 3rd Street by Maysville native, Kaye Browning, you will hear plenty of stories. As a child she would sit on the steps of her home across from the Russell Theatre where Maysville native, Rosemary Clooney, performed live and watch the crowds enter the atmospheric theater to be entertained. And right across the street, she mentions with delight, the Cox building was the place to get a cold Coke, some medicine from the drug store and on your birthday a scoop of ice cream for every year you had been alive! (As long as you took your roller skates off before entering, that is.)  She recalls running through the alleys and visiting the shop owners and knowing everyone in town. These days Kaye admires her town atop the hill that overlooks historic downtown. The view is breathtaking, and from this perspective the town appears to be miniature.

]Kaye Browning has combined two of her favorite things – Maysville and collecting dollhouse miniatures, and she has commissioned replicas of her favorite memories in 1:12 scale.  Kaye Browning has combined two of her favorite things – Maysville and collecting dollhouse miniatures, and she has commissioned replicas of her favorite memories in 1:12 scale. Housed in the Kentucky Gateway Museum, the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection includes scaled down masterpieces that have every detail you can imagine to give you a clear understanding of exactly what it felt like to be Kaye Browning as a child.

The Cox building is actually built with tiny bricks cut from the bricks of the actual full size structure. Upstairs is the Masonic temple. Downstairs you will find Groce Dry Cleaners and Kilgus Drug Store. Mr Kilgus, a chain smoker, used to leave his cigarette butts in the ash tray beside his favorite chair. Kaye’s favorite after school treat– a glass of Coke – sits on the soda counter. On the restaurant table in the front window you will even see the stain of coffee from the tiny little teaspoon that stirred someone’s tiny cup of coffee. And do not forget the pair of working, miniature roller skates that had to be left on the front doorstep so as not to scuff up the beautiful wooden floors. Not a detail is missed, and it is true to history except, as Louis her husband points out, the booths were in the back when he was a kid.

Just across the hall is the miniature version of the entrance to the Russell Theatre. Maysville residents played a part in its creation, and supporters had the opportunity to sign their names to the back of the building’s bricks and personally lay them on the structure. It only seems fitting that the spirit of the community be etched into this miniature masterpiece. Kaye has commissioned the inside of the theatre to be produced, and the piece will be revealed in the Kentucky Gateway Museum in the next year.

Kaye has been a miniature collector since 1974 and has exquisite taste. She is very particular about how she chooses her pieces and feels emotionally connected to the artisans and their work. She can tell you a story about every single piece in her collection, each piece being chosen with great love and admiration for the work involved in its creation. And, after just a short time in the presence of this avid collector, we would use the very same words to describe our new friend in Maysville – love and admiration.

The MODEL LIFE Section feature profiles of mini fans in five categories: Admirer, Creator, Collector, Sharer, and Preserver.

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