Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The "dolls" of Maryhill Museum

The "dolls" at Maryhill Museum of Art
I first visited Maryhill Museum, a wonderful eclectic museum in southcentral Washington, when I was five or six years old. It was the first museum I'd ever visited, and even today remains my favorite.
What I remember most about that visit was the "dolls." Well, I thought they were dolls, but they really weren't. They were fashion mannequins put together by French houses of fashion toward the end of World War II to let the world know that French fashion was very much alive, thank you.

The mannequins are 27 inches high, made of wire, and are dressed in the latest French fashions of that day. Even the accessories, such as shoes, jewelry and handbags, were made by the finest fashion designers Paris had to offer.

After being in storage for a number of years, they ended up at Maryhill where a third of them are on display every year. The mannequins have a special hall to themselves, and they deserve it. Maryhill also has a fascinating collection of chess sets from around the world and Native American artifacts, and memorabilia belonging to the royal family of Romania, but it is the dolls that have always held my interest.

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