Historic Kachina collection at Winslow Hubbell Visitor Center

Private collection of 35 Kachinas available for public viewing

Mary Simmons (left) and Janice Griffin. Photo/Todd Roth

Mary Simmons (left) and Janice Griffin. Photo/Todd Roth

WINSLOW, Ariz. - A new 35-piece Kachina display at the Winslow Visitor Center tells a story about the Kachinas, their original owners and how they came to be on display in town.

The story is told by Janice Griffin, former Old Trails Director, and Mary Simmons, who was a close friend of the original collectors.

"This is a story of a love between two families, (Dahlen and Simmons) and a love of the Hopi culture which has been shared by these Anglo families in this town for so many years," said Griffin.

Mary Dahlen originally started collecting Kachinas during the 1950s and Chester Dennis, who was an old Hopi friend, carved most of the dolls in her collection. One grandson, Alex, who lives in New Jersey, still carries the family name. Alex gathered up the Kachinas and made them available to Simmons, his grandparents' best friend in Winslow.

"Dahlen became fascinated with the stories about the dolls and what the dolls were used for," Griffin said. "Dennis became a mentor to Dahlen enlightening her about the Hopi culture."

Through the generosity of both the Dahlen and Simmons families, the collection is now available to the public. The Dahlen, Simmons, Burgett and Patterson families in Winslow were also instrumental in bringing the state's attention to the looting of Homolovi sites and bringing Homolovi under the protection of the state.

"Anglo families living in this area have a deep interest and respect for the past and present Hopi culture," Griffin said.

The Winslow Visitor Center is at 523 W. Second St., open every day except Sunday for those who would like to see this classic Kachina collection.


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