Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Rosemary
Member
Posts: 2508

112535428645!!! I think that even the nicest of husbands might object to this one. But a sad reflection on donating items to museums if they turf them out like this. And none would take the wonderful Toffs - a lesson in domestic history if there ever was one. A  Museum entirely devoted to such houses would be a wonderful thing - but sadly high speed rail and all the destruction that entails, is the way public money gets spent. 

I believe that there is now a play area in the Museum of Childhood now. Wouldn't that space have been better used to display this amazing house? And a touch of education too,

August 22, 2017 at 5:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Green
Site Owner
Posts: 2083

Well, that's rather sad. Only 5 years since the V&A donated the house to the organisation :( But if even a museum like the V&A doesn't have room, where will it end up?

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Rebecca :)

August 22, 2017 at 8:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Zoe H
Administrator
Posts: 1731

I increasingly believe that the Museum of Childhood and other toy museums have lost the plot. These museums are as much of interest, if not more, to adults and yet they seem to be increasingly geared toward children. Whenever I'm at a toy or dolls' house museum/exhibition the children scoot from one exhibit to another and show very little real interest in any of them, while the adults are engrossed.  There seems to be an acceptance in the model rail world that it is [largely] adult males who are interested in the trains and layouts, but a denial that it is [largely] adult females who are interested in dolls' houses and [largely] adults who are interested in vintage and antique toys.

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Zoe

https://trulymadlytiny.blogspot.co.uk

http://grecondale.com

August 22, 2017 at 8:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Linda B
Member
Posts: 1505

What a gorgeous house, but you only have to look at the trailor to visualise how big it really is.


I agree Zoe, every museum I visit seems to gear up for children, such a shame.

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:)


August 22, 2017 at 8:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

cestina
Member
Posts: 474

I think museums are on a hiding to nothing. Damned if they provide space for children, damned if they don't.   I do agree however that certainly dolls houses, and in fact old toys in general, are of more interest to adults than the children.  However most parents do not realise this until they get there. Collectors of course do know it.


I quite deliberately have no mention of dolls houses on the signs to Small Worlds which are out in the village. Were they to be mentioned, only people with children would come; as it is people come out of curiousity to see what it is and are then often blown away by what they are viewing.


The museums themselves should really realise the adult interest and not only cater for the children. But to a degree they do have to cater for the children as well, since they are the collectors of the future.


One of the problems I, thank goodness, do not have to face in the Czech Republic is the appalling way in which children in Britain often behave in museums, libraries and churches.  No one here attempts to touch the exhibits and they would not run around even if there were space to do so.   Nor do they shriek all the time.  The behaviour in the UK is of course down to the parents....there is no way I could run my museum as I do over there.  A sad reflection on what is happening to us as a society.  (And yes, of course, I know there are many exceptions).


But because the Czech children are so restrained when viewing the dolls houses, which are all uncovered and accessible to wandering fingers, were there to be any, I am very relieved to have a children's corner where they can touch and play to their heart's content.  My daughter thought we needed the extra space for houses (and indeed we do) but I was certain that a children's corner was a total necessity and that has proved to be true.

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Cestina's Dollshouses: https://czechdollshouses.blogspot.com/2019/04/in-eclectic-manor_20.html" target="_blank">In an Eclectic Manor

August 22, 2017 at 10:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Linda B
Member
Posts: 1505

I agree with everything you say Cestina.

Of course museums should welcome children, but could they not have a spot with dolls house they could play with? I am sure this would be of more interest than staring at old ones only adults are interested in.

Also agree with UK children being disruptive.  Not all by any means, but during this summer school holiday I have dreaded going to the supermarket!

On saying that I had a lovely visit to Aston Hall with my daughter and a couple had 2 small children who were an utter pleasure.

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:)


August 22, 2017 at 1:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Rosemary at August 22, 2017 at 5:11 AM

112535428645!!! I think that even the nicest of husbands might object to this one. But a sad reflection on donating items to museums if they turf them out like this. And none would take the wonderful Toffs - a lesson in domestic history if there ever was one. A  Museum entirely devoted to such houses would be a wonderful thing - but sadly high speed rail and all the destruction that entails, is the way public money gets spent. 

I believe that there is now a play area in the Museum of Childhood now. Wouldn't that space have been better used to display this amazing house? And a touch of education too,

:)That made me smile Rosemary, I definitely won't be asking my husband about this one Afraid I won't be broaching the subject with my other half it is a huge beast of a house but what history, that is until it has sadly ended up on ebay what is the world coming too. 

It raises so many questions not the least how did the current seller end up with it they don't appear to be the 'organisation' it was donated to? A pity that with the museums best intentions donating to them in support of cultural history it had such as short time with them before ending up for sale. If museums make such donations I believe that they should make a condition that if the donee wants to part with the item they should give the museum first refusal back, giving the benefit of the doubt of course this may have happened.

Or museums could even make a clause that if any proceeds come from a future sale of a donated item this should belong to the museum which would at least deter people from receiving donated items then selling them to make money. If this had been an item bequeathed by a private person imagine how frustrating and disgusting for the person's family to see it end up on ebay in that case any progeny of the donee should be given the right to  the item back before it is 'donated' by the museum to someone else. I do wish I was in charge;)

A shame the pictures aren't better it looks as if there is maybe a part of the roof that lifts up but I suspect it is more of an architectural model not readily designed for access. 

I regularly browse the archives of the V & A and similar museums and it is heartbreaking how many of the items are not on display.There is one photo in the archives particularly that shows a dolls house in storage with multiple others presumably in a basement storage area none of which are on display.

It is also very sad that when you make a donation to a museum these days they may simply immediately 'deaccession' citing lack of storage and for 'funds'. 

I also totally agree with everyones comments particularly Cestina's about children, there seems to be a  trend these days to take children places  that are totally unsuitable for them and then because they are bored let them run riot everywhere spoiling other people's enjoyment.


August 22, 2017 at 1:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Jan
Member
Posts: 1703

Kids are out of control, I hate going anywhere during the School Holidays and the noise they make in restaurants is awful and the parents take no notice.  We were expected not to be heard when we were young and we never uttered a word when my Dad was home.

August 22, 2017 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

jenny
Member
Posts: 187

Slightly off the thread here but does anyone have any idea which museum  of dolls houses I was taken to at the age of 7 (Easter hols 1977) it was in the Lake District somewhere around the Lake Windermere  area I was enthralled didn't say a word for an hour after we left which is unusual.

Totally agree with everyones comments here perhaps it is the word 'dolls' which sets everyone off thinking exhibits of old houses are for children. I like to see children visiting exhibitions as long as they are fairly quiet.

August 22, 2017 at 4:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

I found this information Jenny perhaps this could be it:

Alice’s Wonderland

1, Long Lane, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8TA


Tel:01228 548576


Alice’s Wonderland is the original and private collection of Dolls, Dolls’ Houses, Miniatura, Teddy Bears and soft toys belonging to Margaret Alice Blackwell.

I have never been if it is still there it certainly sounds worth a trip.


August 22, 2017 at 7:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

christine jaeger
Member
Posts: 1100

imagine the cost of delivery to Australia.... i am waiting for my Amersham to arrive.. any day now... :)

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christine xx

August 23, 2017 at 3:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Jan
Member
Posts: 1703

Rosemary at August 22, 2017 at 5:11 AM

112535428645!!! I think that even the nicest of husbands might object to this one. But a sad reflection on donating items to museums if they turf them out like this. And none would take the wonderful Toffs - a lesson in domestic history if there ever was one. A  Museum entirely devoted to such houses would be a wonderful thing - but sadly high speed rail and all the destruction that entails, is the way public money gets spent. 

I believe that there is now a play area in the Museum of Childhood now. Wouldn't that space have been better used to display this amazing house? And a touch of education too,

Some of the Museums seem to think one dolls house is enough which is a shame as they have the room for more.  The reason given when I tried to get one to take on Toffs was it had no connection to the Area which was an excuse as they were all in or from London and that they already had a dolls house which i did know and it hadn't been on display for many years.  Also know that almost all of the exhibits they have were donated apart from original fittings of course, and I'm sure not all of those would not have had a connection to the area. 

August 23, 2017 at 4:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

cestina
Member
Posts: 474

It is unlikely to have been Alice's Wonderland in 1977 near Lake Windermere.  Margaret Blackwell and I went to the same school and I knew her reasonably well although she is some years older than I am. She must be in her mid to late 80s now.   As far as I know her first base for her collection was at Gretna Green, though it has been in several venues.   The last time I visited it was based at Brougham Castle just outside Penrith.   I suppose, if she is still running it, it could have moved into the centre of Carlisle and given how often she has been forced to move it, I guess it might have started near Lake Windermere...


I checked with the school Guild office a couple of years ago and Margaret Blackwell is still around, living in Penrith but they had  o record of whether her exhibition, which was large and varied, all kinds of old toys, not just dolls houses, was still in existence.

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Cestina's Dollshouses: https://czechdollshouses.blogspot.com/2019/04/in-eclectic-manor_20.html" target="_blank">In an Eclectic Manor

August 23, 2017 at 4:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

cestina
Member
Posts: 474

I also just remembered the Toy and Model Museum in Cockermouth which could loosely be sad to be "near" Lake Windermere ....

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Cestina's Dollshouses: https://czechdollshouses.blogspot.com/2019/04/in-eclectic-manor_20.html" target="_blank">In an Eclectic Manor

August 23, 2017 at 6:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Green
Site Owner
Posts: 2083

I don't think that Alice's Wonderland is still in existence. When I was updating the Places to Visit page, I looked through old guides and listings in IDHN, and googled them - I have a feeling I found something that indicated that Alice's Wonderland had closed, or perhaps a member knew that it had, and that's why it's not on the Places to Visit page. But perhaps someone would like to try the phone number above, or this other one which is also online (but without a date - before or after Carlisle?) -

Alice's Wonderland

Brougham Hall, Penrith

Tel: 01768 895645


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Rebecca :)

August 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Rebecca Green at August 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM

I don't think that Alice's Wonderland is still in existence. When I was updating the Places to Visit page, I looked through old guides and listings in IDHN, and googled them - I have a feeling I found something that indicated that Alice's Wonderland had closed, or perhaps a member knew that it had, and that's why it's not on the Places to Visit page. But perhaps someone would like to try the phone number above, or this other one which is also online (but without a date - before or after Carlisle?) -

Alice's Wonderland

Brougham Hall, Penrith

Tel: 01768 895645


I tried all 3 numbers I found on the net the last one I tried I spoke to a very nice lady who sadly said the museum dispersed about 12years ago : ( That's a shame. 


August 23, 2017 at 10:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

jenny
Member
Posts: 187

Thank you for the replies it wasn't Alice's Wonderland which I did get to in 1994 shame to hear it may not be together as a collection any more. The museum I visited back in the '70's had old houses - Victorian  or Edwardian, could it have been something to do with Patience Arnold? I did read she had a museum or an exhibition in the Lake District at one time.

August 23, 2017 at 11:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

jenny
Member
Posts: 187

Answering myself, just googled Patience Arnold she did have a museum near Ambleside with 14 dolls houses but it didn't open until 1980..so I may have been a little older than I thought when we visited.. unless there was another! Does anyone else know more about Patience?

August 23, 2017 at 11:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

I am afraid not I found a nice photo of her on google with some of her houses but that's it. 

We really need some new Dolls House Museums! They are all fading away. I think it is partly to do with what Cestina said. Maybe I see things through rose coloured spectacles but I do think in the past if you were a private person inclined to set up a small museum and allow the public in you were generally fine. Children were much better disciplined so and wouldn't wantonly damage things that were on display and you wouldn't be prone to constant theft or damage like nowadays.

I certainly would not feel safe these days to open my home publicly to display a dolls house collection and certainly not a valuable one. Part of the problem with theft these days is that people can now risk selling anything they have stolen on that internet site. Things that people wouldn't bother stealing now they do which is part of the reason why there is so much theft even in charity shops. Some of my friends are charity shop volunteers and the tales they tell are awful about people coming in the shop stealing things, career shoplifters not needy people.

August 23, 2017 at 3:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

cestina
Member
Posts: 474

I think another reason small museums are no longer opened in the UK is the sheer cost of doing so.   All I pay here in the Czech Republic is a very small annual rent to the town council, of £500pa which includes heating, water and electricity.   No business rates....And I now have an extra 3 small workrooms for a further £180pa.


I pay my 2 young assistants the going rate of £2 an hour...


And I also agree with what Holly says.   When I first opened I expected to lose items. Nothing has so far disappeared, or been damaged, and I have been open since 2013.  I feel completely safe here as regards both theft and damage and would not feel the same back home in the UK.


Of course that does not rule out vandals or an opportunist thief in the night, but I don't envisage anything happening during opening hours.

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Cestina's Dollshouses: https://czechdollshouses.blogspot.com/2019/04/in-eclectic-manor_20.html" target="_blank">In an Eclectic Manor

August 23, 2017 at 4:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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