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Plan A Dolls' House Collection for Maximum Effect


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Using Dollhouses as a Focus For Your Miniature Collection
Front view of Joan Bergstrom's 1:24 scale victorian house exhibited at the Seattle Dollhouse Show

The highly detailed front of Joan Bergstrom's 1:24 scale Clairbourne Manor, showing a bay window open to provide a view into a child's room.

Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Once you have a focus, what space will your collection of miniatures eventually need? If you’ve decided to create a village, what scale do you have room for? What will work best for you; a display box, a dolls house with a permanent open back (North American Style)or a front opening dollhouse (European Style). You can view a list of the common differences between front and back opening dollhouses to help you make your choice. Will you want to integrate your house with other buildings, a street full of shops for example, or a complete farmstead with barns or greenhouses? or a miniature scene? Here's an example of a simple dollhouse in a smaller scale which was integrated into a full scene, Joanne Forsstrom's Granny Fanny's exhibited at the Fall 2010 Seattle Dollhouse Show.

Does your display space suggest a roomful of glass cases of individual vignettes would give you more satisfaction from your displays than a large dollhouse? Do you hae an existing piece of furniture (an armoire perhaps) which could be used as a modern day baby house to hold your collection?

  • Collecting for a Dollhouse: A dollhouse collection involves more choices and expense than a display box. What scale house can you display? Will one be enough? Will you need more? Is there a particular period/style of house you want? Are kits available in your style and price range? Will you scratch build, or buy something already wired for electricity or partially finished? Will you be happy if rooms stay unfurnished for years while you collect? Study the range of dollhouses and styles at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London.
  • Showcases: If you don’t want to tell a story or create a scene, a showcased collection may work best. Theresa Yu has an enormous collection of dollhouse items housed in showcases. (This can be a slow link as it is a huge private collection.) Hers is an impressive example of how large a miniature collection can grow! Imagine if it was all housed in miniature buildings!

Examples of Dollhouses:

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