» Plentiful Weekday & Weekend Discounted Parking Available
» Early closing alerts: Saturday, November 18 at 1:00pm, Wednesday, November 22 at 3:00pm
Dolls and Doll Houses

Dolls and Doll Houses Collection

Boston Children's Museum’s Doll Collection dates back to our beginning in 1913, although many individual dolls are much older, dating back to the 18th century. The dolls can be divided roughly into two groups, international Folk Dolls and Play Dolls. A majority of the 1,500 international Folk dolls show the traditional dress and customs of their originating countries. While some folk dolls began as souvenirs, many are now rare, or old enough to represent countries and traditions that no longer exist. Our 800 Play Dolls represent an extremely fine though under-utilized collection of play and fashion dolls from America and Western Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Special treasures include rare 18th century Queen Anne dolls, Izannah Walker cloth dolls, 19th century portrait and milliner’s dolls, Shirley Temple dolls, and a 24-inch mechanical doll of Buffalo Bill in full costume. Our Paper Doll Collection numbers approximately 300 sets and includes dolls from the 19th and 20th centuries, fashion dolls, character dolls, and those representing famous people and celebrities in the entertainment field. Our Shirley Temple dolls were used to produce a Dover paper doll publication that gives a social and fashion history of the 1930s as well as dolls for children to play with. We also have a set of the Boston Herald ladies, paper dolls published in the newspaper in 1895-1896, and disseminated throughout the country, which provided dolls for children as well as examples of Paris fashions for women and dressmakers. The Museum's collection of 25 dollhouses and miniature rooms is likely our most well known collection. The houses span from the late 19th century to the 1960’s and include two replicas of the Paul Revere House.

Browse the collection:

Wiggin House, 1850-1920

 

Wiggin House, 1850-1920

 

Gloucester, MA

Wood, paint

Donated by Mr. Henry Wiggin, 1970

3NK 70-6

Bisque Doll, 1850-1920

 

Bisque Doll, 1850-1920

 

France

Bisque, cloth, leather, cotton

Donated by Eudora and Amy L. Daniels, 1939

3NK 978

Baby Doll, 1964

 

Baby Doll, 1964

 

Maker unknown

Plastic

Gift of the Ashmont Supply Company, 1964

4NK 64-3 S1

Dollhouse Bedroom Furniture, 1850-1920

 

Dollhouse Bedroom Furniture, 1850-1920


 

New England

Wood, paint, cotton, glass

Donated by Ms. Margaret Shepard Newton, 1938

3NK 873 a, b, f

Ginny Doll, 1957

 

Ginny Doll, 1957

 

Vogue Dolls, Inc., Medford, MA

Hard plastic, cloth

Donated by Vogue Dolls, Inc., 1957

4NK 57-17 S1

Paper Dolls, ca. 1895

 

Paper Dolls, ca. 1895

 

Boston Herald, Boston, MA

Paper

Donated by Miss Betty Mixter, 1947

3NK 1784 S1

Doll, “Annie,” ca. 1875

 

Doll, “Annie,” ca. 1875

 

Izannah Walker, Somerset, MA

Cotton, linen, glass, paint

Donated by Miss Louisa Case, 1932

3NK 248

Shirley Temple Paper Dolls, 1934

 

Shirley Temple Paper Dolls, 1934

 

Saalfield Publishing Company, Akron, Ohio

Paper

Purchased by the Children’s Museum, 1984

4NK 84-6a

Doll Carriage, 1889

 

Doll Carriage, 1889

 

United States

Wood, rattan, upholstery, metal

Gift of the Estate of Frank C. Doble, 1970

3NK 70-53