The history of dollhouses is one that begins over 400 years ago. There is speculation as to the origin of the dollhouse since it was not documented until the 1800’s. Dollhouses have provided endless entertainment to children and adults alike. This toy should be celebrated for how much it has given to generation after generation.
(1) In the earliest years of the history of the dollhouse, it was only the children of the wealthy aristocrats who were given the chance to play with these toys. The dollhouse was a privilege and a symbol of status. These dollhouses were all handcrafted and resembled a more common home as opposed to the mansions the children actually lived in. It gave them some perspective into how others lived.
(2) Dollhouse manufacturing on a large scale began in Germany in the 1800’s. It was also in Germany at this time that dollhouse furnishings became more elaborate. Rather than rudimentary furniture and simple designs, dollhouses began to be outfitted with grand decorations, ornate carpeting, and incredible details that had not been seen previously.
(3) While the history of the dollhouse has changed, one thing has remained the same. Children are being taught about family life and how to use their imaginations. Since dollhouses are often passed down to the next generation, it is a bonding experience for parent and child to play together and for the parent to share his or her own memories.
(4) The history of the dollhouse is not documented with specific dates. That is why it is unknown exactly when the dollhouse became not only a child’s toy but also a valuable collectable. Dollhouses became even more ornate in both structure and decoration. The detail became truly amazing. Dollhouses are still being collected as valuable pieces. There are even dollhouse museums and exhibits to showcase some of the most beautiful dollhouses in existence.
(5) Dollhouses for children today are quite different than their ancestors. Many dollhouses are made of plastic rather than wood. While these dollhouses still provide children the opportunity to role-play and expand their imagination, some feel that the magic was lost with the decline of the intricate wooden dollhouse. These new plastic dollhouses also come ready to play with furniture and dolls included, which can lessen the joy of searching for new decorations and additions.
The history of the dollhouse is not very complex, but neither is the joy that these “toys” can bring. The dollhouse has given children endless hours of entertainment and adults the chance to create a beautiful collection of miniatures. Regardless of where the future of dollhouses goes, it is sure that dollhouses will be beloved by all.
Photo by Sarah_Ackerman