The House of Broel draws visitors, prospective brides and grooms, and dollhouse aficionados to its doors located in the historic garden district of New Orleans, Louisiana. The perfectly preserved Victorian home was originally built in the 1850’s by George Washington Squires and then was added on to by William Renaud in 1884 to provide more open space on the ground floor. The location is the perfect place for a wedding specialist, an award winning fashion designer, author, interfaith minister, and dollhouse collector Bonnie Broel to create a museum and wedding site. The first floor of the home is open for those who want to book weddings, receptions and parties. As an interfaith minister, Bonnie Broel can perform the wedding ceremonies in her historic home. Ms. Broel is the winner of the International Retailer of Style and Excellence (ROSE) award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Fashion Group International. More known for the the lavish weddings and receptions that can be contracted with the Ms.Broel, the “Queen of Weddings,” the House of Broel is not as well known for the dollhouse museum that also resides in the house.
When Ms. Broel moved into the Victorian mansion thirty five years ago, the house was in need of major renovations and repair. Now fully restored, the home is available to brides and grooms looking for a location full of Southern history to have their wedding. In addition, the House of Broel is a museum where visitors can see the many Victorian antiques, collected by Bonnie Broel and her collection of miniature homes including a Southern antebellum plantation home and a Russian palace, in addition to more than 40 shadow box rooms filled with miniature treasures. Ms.Broel’s interest in miniatures and dollhouses is an interest she developed as a adult and she is has been happy to be able to share both her love of fashion, weddings, and dollhouses within her home to guests of her museum. According to Broel, her wedding business and fashions are of the moment; her hope is that the dollhouse museum will be a permanent legacy.
Ms. Broel was raised by parents who did not encourage playing with dolls or toys but wanted her to focus on becoming a businesswoman. When she reached her successful adulthood she found there was a desire to rediscover the childhood she never had. It was her son who saw how fascinated she was with miniatures that encouraged her to build her first dollhouse. For more than twenty five years, Bonnie Broel has immersed herself in the world of miniatures. Her collection includes what she refers to as her ‘Dollhouse of Romance’ that is created and decorated for Valentine’s Day, an Asian miniature home, a fairy house, and a Western cowboy saloon. It is Bonnie Broel’s hope that her miniature museum will one day be listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest dollhouse museum created by a single person. The Museum is generally open from Monday through Friday but call 504 494 2220 to ensure the museum is open. The Museum is located on 2220 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans and is supported by the nonprofit House of Broel Foundation.
Note: Since this was written the dollhouse museum appears to be closed and the miniatures from the museum are up for sale on ebay. The most expensive is the House of All Seasons designed by Bonnie Broel. It is listed on ebay for $149,000.