All dolled up and on display
This past summer the Maple Ridge Museum has had various dolls and doll accessories on display from its collection.
The exhibit has been met with great success and will extend throughout the end of the year.
Not only has the museum received positive feedback from the community, it has garnered numerous accessions of dolls, books, and toy furniture.
These new accessions will be incorporated into the display.
They include a doll house diorama from the 1940s, Happy Family dolls from the 1970s, a 1960s Barbie with removable wig, a black Pedigree doll from the 1940s and recycled doll furniture.
The addition of doll houses, along with toy furniture has helped to significantly round out the collection.
Miniature toys have often been associated with children, but collecting and crafting these pieces has also been a hobby for many adults.
The history of miniature homes dates back to the Egyptian tombs, nearly 5,000 years ago. Made from wood, those models would have certainly been made for religious purposes.
European doll houses, closer to what the modern doll house looks like, date back to the 16th Century.
Depicting idealized interiors, with extremely detailed accessories, these cabinets were not made to be a child’s toy. They were made solely for adults, and essentially off-limits to children. They were hand-crafted and uniquely constructed to fit the individual who had it commissioned.
Germany was the main producer of these miniature homes, until the Industrial Revolution, when doll houses began to be produced on a mass scale, and the market for handcrafted doll houses shrank.
With construction more on a mass-produced scale, the houses became less of a craft hobby among adults, and shifted into toys for children. There was still a market for collectors, yet miniatures were no longer off limits to children.
From a child’s point-of-view, dolls, and doll houses, especially, were a way for them to interact and explore the adult world, but having the ability to rearrange and make it their own, without any of the consequences.
Manufactured and even homemade doll houses went to great lengths to make the homes be as realistic as possible for children.
Houses either had an open back, or front, or a hinged roof. Many of the homemade ones were constructed similar to open dioramas.
Take the doll house the museum recently received, as depicted in the photo. Made in the 1940s, and belonging to Tineke Rijzinga of Webster’s Corners, everything in it down to the water cooler and tins of coco and tea in the kitchen cupboards are exact replicas of what one would find in any home of that era.
Within this donation the museum also received a set of miniature porcelain plates and cups, to be used with larger dolls set to have a tea party.
Drop by the museum this fall to see the extended exhibit.
• Winter hours are now in effect: Wednesday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.
For more details, or if you have a doll or accessory you would like to donate, please call 604-463-5311.
Allison White is the curator of the Maple Ridge Museum.