World famous dolls on display at Toledo Museum of Art

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TOLEDO (13abc Action News) – The Toledo Museum of Art has an amazing collection of work from all over the world. That includes a special group of dolls that were designed in part by one of the founders of high fashion.

The dolls were world famous when they were purchased by the founder of the museum, Edward Drummond Libbey in 1916. He paid $30,000 for them, which is the equivalent of $680,000 today. They were on display at the museum from 1917-1972, but they’ve been packed away in boxes ever since.An intern recently took an interest in the collection, and helped get them back on display. Marissa Stevenson was a conservation intern at the museum,”It is magnificent and truly extraordinary to see the entire collection back out.”

Marissa was a big part of making that happen, “I really became interested in their history, their garments and their history here at the museum as well.”

The collection was made to promote French culture during World War I. It traveled to bazaars and exhibitions. Their clothes were designed by Jacques Doucet, one of the most famous fashion designers of his day. The detail is remarkable, “Each doll has a custom undergarment. They have custom made shoes. A lot of the garments are hand embroidered with metal thread, and it’s beautiful how all the gems are sewn on.”

The dolls have a special tie to a historical character from the years 490-1915, “Each one represents a character form a work of art. So you can look for dolls in works of art throughout the world. We discovered that a few of the paintings the dolls are tied to, are part of our museum collection.”

The dolls are made of wax and plaster, so it’s important to limit the time they’re on display, “Wax and plaster often expand and contract at different rates so that’s why the collection is not on permanent view any more.”

And they’re about to be packed away once again. The Libbey dolls are on display through February 12th. The exhibit is free and open to the public. To learn more about it and all the other happenings at the museum we’ve posted a link.

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