Small Stories at the V&A Museum of Childhood

In December 2014 we will be opening the Small Stories exhibition, featuring 12 of our most fabulous dolls’ houses. We’ll be bringing together 1,800 miniature objects including armchairs, four-poster beds, knives and forks, pets and pianos. Plus 107 dolls who all need a place to live.

On this blog, we’ll be sharing the process of bringing a dozen tiny homes and their inhabitants to life. We’ll go behind the scenes at the V&A Museum of Childhood and take a closer look inside the dolls’ houses as they get ready for display.
We’d love to hear about your dolls’ houses and the stories of their inhabitants, so please leave comments as we go.

Back to the blog front page

Faith the collector and curator

(c) Faith Eaton/V&A Museum, London

By Eloisa Rodrigues It is not easy to get into a collector’s mind and understand the reasons why someone chooses to gather selected objects to be part of something bigger. Collecting is a very meaningful occupation. It is a process of deliberative selection of a group of objects “to be lifted out of the common […]

Keep reading

A Treasury of Postcards

Post 3 (2) FE photo of pc's for blog

By Holly Tatham As Eloisa mentioned in her last post, we’ve spent days looking through and sorting out hundreds of Faith Eaton’s postcards. Whilst doing so we’ve enjoyed and considered the sense of history retained in these cards – and their varied and wonderful images. As Eloisa and I handled each postcard, looking at their […]

Keep reading

A Day in the Life of a Dollmaker

feature image

By Eloisa Rodrigues Holly and I have been struggling to find another word to replace “interesting” when describing Faith Eaton’s archive as we go along with the research and listing its contents. The truth is the deeper we dig the more interesting it becomes. And the word “interesting” stays – although we sometimes switch to […]

Keep reading

The Faith Eaton Project: entering the private world of a doll expert

Eloisa small

By Eloisa Rodrigues and Holly Tatham Here in the V&A Museum of Childhood’s archives there is a new dolls’ house world to be explored. Nearly 10 years ago the museum received an incredible and extensive archive which belonged to the doll and dolls’ house collector Faith Eaton, who dedicated her entire life to this subject. […]

Keep reading

At least 75% of the children behaved themselves properly

F R Wilson with a school group, 1920s

Here’s another gem from The Times in the 1920s. The perennial problem of children in museums had arisen in the letters pages, and the newspaper approached Sir Cecil Harcourt-Smith, Director of the V&A, for comment… Children in the Museums Sir C. Harcourt Smith’s Views The behaviour of children in museums in London having been the […]

Keep reading

There are many worse places in which to spend an idle day

Mrs Neave's House, c1840. W.17-1930 (c) V&A Museum, London

Dolls’ houses have long been at the heart of the displays at the museum in Bethnal Green, and as Small Stories has shown, their appeal never gets old. This article appeared in The Times on Thursday 23rd August 1928, describing the attractions of the museum for children. Arthur Sabin welcomed children, creating displays especially for […]

Keep reading

No Country for Old Dolls?

Still from the Small Stories trailer (C)V&A Museum, London

GUEST POST: Lauren vonBechmann gives the background to our new Small Stories trailer. One of our main aims of Small Stories is to bring each dolls’ house to life, and what better way to do that with a film? With the help of Peter Kelleher, V&A’s Motion Media Manager, aka filmmaker, we were able approach […]

Keep reading

The Curious Collage: an 18th century dolls’ house

The final display. (C) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

One of the most exciting parts of redisplaying the dolls’ house gallery has been reviving the so-called ‘18th century room setting’. This intriguing group of furniture, cutlery and kitchenware, wooden panels and dolls has been around since 1877, when it was bought for £20 from a Staffordshire woman called Mrs Thornhill. There are many treasures […]

Keep reading

Halloween greetings from beyond the grave

The Screaming Skull! Courtesy of Susanna Pinney

All is not quite what it seems in the bustling Pinney household. There are rumours of ghosts that roam the halls, tales of ghouls that scare the staff and sightings of spirits that send shivers up the spines of visitors. This Halloween the Legend of the Screaming Skull is revealed… During research for Small Stories […]

Keep reading

Building a Dream House

Longest Party Table in the World, PriestmanGoode

As a finale to the Small Stories exhibition, we wanted to create something new. Something that would bring the story of dolls’ houses bang up to date, and reflect on some of the themes we’ve been thinking about when we planned the show. One key idea which came out again and again when Sarah and […]

Keep reading