Joliet library exhibits ‘Star Wars’ dolls

40 dolls in handcrafted costumes on display at Ottawa Street branch

Kathy Van Beuningen's collection of Star Wars dolls is on display on the lower level of the Joliet Public Library Ottawa Street Branch. Van Beuningen is a member of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costuming group. May 4, 2023.

The Joliet Public Library an exhibit of 40 “Star Wars” dolls on display at its downtown Ottawa Street branch.

The collection was created by Kathy van Beuningen, a member of the 501st Legion of “Star Wars” fans, who will be in Joliet wearing a costume to join the city in its “Star Wars” Day festivities on June 3. The dolls will be on exhibit at the library through June 5.

It is the first in a series of exhibits planned for the Ottawa Street branch, the library said in a news release.

“Thanks to support from sponsorships and grants, we are able to offer exciting exhibits in our new space downtown at no charge to our community,” library Executive Director Megan Millen said in the release.

Van Beuningen researches, designs and makes the costumes for her “Star Wars” dolls out of mostly repurposed materials, according to the release.

“I have found many of the dolls that I use to build these costumes at local resale stores,” Van Beuningen said in the release. “They, too, now have a second life as characters in my “Star Wars” universe.”

“Star Wars” Day will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Joliet, surrounding the Ottawa Street branch. The library is the main organizer for the event.

The next exhibit planned for the library is “The Questioneers,” an interactive learning exhibit based on the book series of the same name and coming to Joliet from the DuPage Children’s Museum.

Information on upcoming exhibits is available on the library website at jolietlibrary.org/en/special-interest/exhibits.

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