I spent this weekend setting up a doll display at the museum where I volunteer, to celebrate World Doll Day this coming Saturday. So, I thought I’d share the display with you all! Everything in the photos to follow is the property of the Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum. (If you’re in the area, please come by and see the exhibit! At the moment, it’s scheduled to stay up until the end of July. Though that might change; the dates haven’t been run by the director yet. I doubt she’ll object, but…one never knows anything for certain.)
The exhibit is exclusively on the first floor, in the two parlors. The house dates to 1850, and has two parlors because at that time houses for the well-to-do had to have a “gentlemen’s parlor” and a “ladies’ parlor” so that men could visit with the man of the house and women could visit the lady of the house without them having to consort with each other. (How shocking it would be to have to speak to the opposite sex in public!) The gentlemen’s parlor faces the street, so I’ll start there, just as a tour of the house would. (I will not be trying to share the basic tour information, however. In part because I work down in the basement with the collection, and have only spotty knowledge of the basic tour’s contents.)
I didn’t photograph the sofa in this parlor, because only one of the dolls on it was put out for the display; the rest were already out. (As the museum is half toy museum, half historic house, there are always some toys on display. I just like seeing the toys take over like this, the way they always do at Christmas.) Turning along the same wall the desk is against, we pass by the fireplace and reach the piano:
Since it’s the gentlemen’s parlor, I thought all the dolls on the piano should be male dolls. Hopefully Eugene wouldn’t be offended that I put Mortimer Snerd right beneath his photo. (I think he wouldn’t, though; I think he’d have enjoyed Mortimer Snerd.) I’ll show close-up photos of the various dolls in a bit, but for now let’s move on to the ladies’ parlor.
The table is set up for a tea party, so I decided to turn into a dolly tea party by putting a Nancy Ann doll at each place setting:
There are two sofas in the ladies’ parlor, and I filled both of them with large(ish) dolls:
I’m not sure why the picture came out sort of yellowed like that. But considering I was having to use a flash (normally not permitted, naturally) I didn’t want to take any more photos than necessary.
Opposite the sofas is the piano. As with the one in the gentlemen’s parlor, I opted for all ladies on the ladies’ piano. (I don’t think there would have been two pianos in the house in the 19th century, btw. But what furnishings the museum has was partially dictated by what people donated, you know? And the one in the gentlemen’s parlor actually belonged to Eugene Field, if I recall correctly. This one may have some association with the family as well, though I’m not positive. Like I said, my knowledge of the basic tour information is spotty at best.)
Beside the piano is a chair that I filled with a particularly large doll:
And this seems like the ideal time to shift from showing the over-all room to showcasing some of the individual dolls. Continue reading