Monday, October 19, 2009

Paper Dolls On Display Are More Than Just Child's Play

This weekend I went on a little road trip to Coopersville – a small city just outside of Grand Rapids. I stopped in to check out a paper doll display set up at the Coopersville Farm Museum. The display case housed what looked like close to 30 or so different paper dolls. The collection is on loan by Jan Harings a local person with a passion for collecting paper dolls. The exhibit is dedicated to a collecting friend of hers, Julie Cain, who recently passed away.

This small sample of her collection is definitely worth seeing. It brought be back as I had forgot how much I loved paper dolls as a little girl. From the display it's interesting to see how different paper dolls were throughout the 20th century. The variety of silhouettes of the paper dolls, some looking like little girls, others like women and the different illustration styles. Having studied clothing history I definitely have a new perception of paper dolls than I did when I was dressing my own Barbie paper dolls in the early 90s! The fashions worn by the dolls show high fashions of various decades and are a great source for tracing trends.

Here are some web links to information on the history of paper dolls:
-The OPDAG (The Original Paper Doll Artists' Guild), "History of Paper Dolls "by Judy M. Johnson

The Coopersville Farm Museum is charming museum with a real community feel. The exhibits are anything from model trains, artwork to historic displays and were created by locals. They are pretty random which is not a bad thing! When you have visited as many museums as I have it’s enjoyable to be surprised when visiting a museum. Next time I go to Coopersville I hope to ride the train which is also run by volunteers - so many volunteers in this city - what a nice community!
The paper doll display is on at the Coopersville Farm Museum until October 24, 2009.

(Photos by me)