On the road to Holden Beach, you might pass something that is truly head-turning. Buildings adorned in colorful arrays of art, small doll houses that operate more as museums than as occupied spaces, and – if you’re lucky – you might even see the creator of it all, Mary Paulsen.
Facebook / Mary Paulsen Mary's Gone Wild
Mary's Gone Wild Folk Art and Doll Baby Museum is like something you've never experienced in North Carolina.
The museum started in 1996 when Mary said God spoke to her. He asked her to build a village of houses for her collection of 6,000 dolls, with all proceeds going to feed hungry children. God spoke to Mary again in 1998 and told her to use windows as her canvas and take a brush and paint and decorate her already whimsical creations.
Today, the village consists of large-scale dollhouses - some representing a specific scene, like school or church. All houses consists of a myriad of Mary's artwork and collections throughout the years.
Mary's Gone Wild could very well be an OCD person's nightmare, but you must accept the 'slight' chaos of flood of colors, dolls, light, messages and painted glass. While somewhat thrown together, it is all a form of art - and a seriously unique one at that.
And if dipping into dollhouses isn't your thing - there's a gorgeous array of colorful glass bottles outside.
There are glass bottles inside as well.
There's no denying the abundance of color, imagination, and pure whimsical themes at Mary's Gone Wild.
Mary's isn't a place easily understood or thoroughly seen with just one visit. Every surface is colorfully decorated or used to hold some other object. Bible verses and even Mary's own bits of wisdom are painted on the walls. Plastic puppies sit in microwaves and dolls intently gaze at you behind locked doors.
If you're lucky, Mary might be around or working on her new art. Her bubbly personality and contagious laugh radiate her message through her museum. While overwhelming, proceeds go to charity and Mary does her art not out of attention or because she's a little 'nutty;' she does it simply out of love and a passion for art.
Of course, there's no way the pictures can do this place justice. On your next trip to the beach...this is a stop you won't regret making. Mary's is open 365 days a year from 9AM-9PM and is free to the public.