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The Rev. Jen Miller's collection of Troll dolls are on display at her Troll Museum Resurrection exhibit at the Chinatown Soup gallery in New York City. (Photo credit: Circa.)

'Little symbols of hope': Troll Museum finds new home in New York City art gallery


'Little symbols of hope': Troll Museum finds new home in New York City art gallery

WATCH: The temporary return of the Lower East Side Troll Museum is a victory of sorts for its curator, the Rev. Jen Miller.

But the 44-year-old performance artist still isn't sure why she's began hoarding the wide-eyed dolls in the first place.

'You know, I've been asked, 'Why Trolls?' a lot. I don't know. It would take years of psychotherapy [to figure it out].'
Rev. Jen Miller, discussing her troll collection
They are little symbols of hope.
Rev. Jen Miller, on Troll dolls

A troll named Adrianna

She told Circa she was about 10 years old when she bought her first Troll. She named the redheaded figure Adrianna, because it supposedly bore a resemblance to Miller's mother's best friend.

"They are little symbols of hope," Miller said. "You know, rub their hair, and make a wish...

"The one thing about Trolls: They're always smiling. I don't know of any grumpy Trolls."

How the Troll Museum came to be

Miller didn't stop with Adrianna. One doll became a dozen. Dozens became hundreds. "I have no idea how many Trolls are in my collection," Miller added, estimating her current total at 600. "I actually had a couple friends try to count [them], and they went crazy trying to count, and they just gave up."

In 2000 she decided to put them on display in what was then her Orchard Street apartment. "I just put up shelves, and put Trolls on them, and called it a museum," said Miller of the old exhibit.

Here's how the old exhibit looked at her former Orchard Street apartment on June 28.

The Lower East Side Troll Museum grew into a must-see, alt-scene destination.

Justin Timberlake - CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! (From DreamWorks Animation's "Trolls") (Official Video)

Troll dolls date to the late '50s, when a woodcutter named Thomas Dam created and popularized the toy through his company, Dam Things.

They may be poised for another comeback, thanks to the upcoming "Trolls!" movie. The soundtrack features the Justin Timberlake hit "Can't Stop the Feeling!"

Trolls Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Justin Timberlake Movie

"I tried to be a consultant on the movie," Miller said. "I mean, I actually had the CEO of Dam Things come over to the original Troll Museum, and that was like being a basketball fan and having Michael Jordan come over and hang out."

The demise of the original Troll Museum

The original Troll Museum came to a sudden end earlier this summer, when, according to Miller, she and her Trolls were evicted from her Orchard Street apartment, following what she says was a four-year court battle.

Miller said her bouts with illness and her job loss had prevented her from paying rent, but she hadn't been warned about an eviction, according to Gothamist.

Miller delivered the bad news to her followers on Twitter.

Miller promotes 'romantic' Troll Museum event

Miller found a venue for a limited-engagement Troll exhibition -- Chinatown Soup art gallery, which also happens to be on Orchard Street, began hosting Miller's eclectic collection this week.

In addition to showing off her legendary collection at Chinatown Soup through Aug. 30, Miller planned to host gallery events, ranging from an Aug. 18 "art school for kids and adults" to an Aug. 27 "Troll Museum prom picnic." Said Miller of the latter event, "Bring a blanket to lie down on. Bring a date. It's going to be romantic."

Foxie Chimpanzee plays with troll dolls

The Troll Museum isn't the only thing that's found a new home.

Miller is staying with friends in Brooklyn, and Miller's first Troll doll (remember Adrianna?) is now bringing comfort to a primate named Foxie at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington.

The one doll that won't be in the exhibition is Adrianna, 'cause I sent her to a chimpanzee.
Rev. Jen Miller, Troll Museum founder

Foxie "was rescued from a laboratory and she'd had babies, but they'd been taken away from her, and she only finds solace in Troll dolls," Miller said. "I saw that and, of course, cried for like two days, and then I thought, 'I have to send Foxie something.' So, the one doll that won't be in the exhibition is Adrianna, 'cause I sent her to a chimpanzee."

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