Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Meet Dollhouses' Little World At The V&A

Dolls and the houses they live in are often thought as either toys for little girls or part of an intricate collection possessed by a grown woman. Little do we know that behind these toys, which can come in so many different sizes, forms and material, may lie an invaluable story.

It’s something that the Small Stories exhibition, which opened in December 2014 at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, strives to make adults remember and children appreciate.

“The museum’s collection of dolls’ houses is world renowned and very popular. We were inspired by them to make an exhibition that would show them off the best we could,” explains Alice Sage, the exhibition’s curator.

The exhibit presents 12 dollhouses that tell the story of their owner and explore the period in which the person they belonged to lived, from the 17th century until now.

Really, Small Stories is part return to childhood, and part playful history lesson.

For example, visitors learn that the Tate Baby House, a gorgeous Palladian mansion created in 1760 was handed from mother to eldest daughter for 170 years, until Flora Tate, its latest proprietor, handed it to the Victoria and Albert Museum in the 1920s because she didn’t have any children of her own.

Or again, that because they legally were not allowed to inherit property, dollhouses used to be precious possessions for women centuries earlier.

This is why, even though you’ll see children running around before their parents, the exhibition is still adult-friendly.

“I could have come with some friends instead of my child,” says Dorothy Whiteley, a 34-year-old assistant teacher who visited Small Stories with her four-year-old son.

If you want to be mesmerized by exquisite dollhouses, visit the exhibition until the 6th of September. Admission is free and tickets are not required. 

A slideshow of the exhibition, just for the pleasure of your eyes!

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