All dolled up and on display

See a display of dolls and accessories at the Maple Ridge Museum

Two paper dolls and clothes were donated to the museum by Daphne Clowes.

Two paper dolls and clothes were donated to the museum by Daphne Clowes.

Starting in June, the Maple Ridge Museum will have on display various dolls and doll accessories from its collection.

Most notably the display will feature a selection of artifacts from resident Daphne Clowes, from ceramic dolls to toy wicker furniture to a large collection of paper dolls from the 1930s.

Our paper doll collection is in very good condition, considering the dolls themselves are nearly 80 years old.

The history of paper dolls is also one to note.

Used as an inexpensive children’s toy for thousands of years, they have been around since paper was invented.

They have been used in religious rituals and ceremonies in the Asian cultures for many centuries.

The Japanese used paper for origami, some of which is on display in the museum today.

They also folded paper figures, and made paper and leather puppets.

Typically no clothes were made with these dolls, just the figures themselves.

Paper dolls, as we predominately know them today in western culture, were first seen in France during the mid-18th century. They were drawn or painted like people with fashions for each doll.

The biggest North American producer of paper dolls at the start of the 1920s was Milton Bradley, and they grew steadily in popularity during the following decades.

Cut from paper or thin card stock, the figures have clothes, also made of paper, that are attached to the dolls with folding tabs, so the dolls lie completely on one plane.

While being a source of amusement for children, they also had limitation with construction. The folding tabs would easily tear, so many alternatives were made.

Thicker construction paper, also vinyl-like dolls and clothes were attempted; magnets were also used, although inevitably, all alternatives also came with their own set of disadvantages.

The best way to play with paper dolls, much like any delicate toy, was carefully.

In putting together this exhibit we noticed a gap in our collection. We have very few vinyl or soft vinyl dolls, which came into production in the late 1950s, Barbie, being the most popular. But this extends to many dolls from the 1970s onwards. If you have, or know of anyone who would be willing to donate to the museum, please contact us.

In addition to ceramic and paper dolls, the museum will also be showcasing a new collection piece – a toy pram from the mid-1930s, donated by Maple Ridge resident, Shirley Goetzen, who also donated two adorable vinyl dolls with the carriage.

Drop by the museum this summer to see the exhibit. Summer hours for both the Haney House Museum and the Maple Ridge Museum begin July 4: Wednesday to Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

• For more information, call 604-463-5311.

Allison White is curator of the Maple Ridge Museum.

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