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musée poupée paris
June 6 to September 24, 2006

Poster of the exhibit
Regional dolls from EEC

• • From regional costumes to dolls • •

The changes in regional costumes are mainly linked to the climate and material available.
It is only from the Revolution that the dressing uses and colours, reserved until then for the aristocracy, became available to all.

With the discovery of the loom by Jacquard in 1812, the industry reinforced this trend by enabeling the producing of varied cloth on a large scale.
Concurently, the discovery of artificial colouring meant that cheap weevered  and long lasting coloured cloth and yarn was available. Likewise, the invention of bleach allowed people to whiten cloth without having to leave it under the sun for several weeks. Finally the invention of the sewing machine by Thimonier and Singer also made the process of making clothe much quicker. The spreading of catalogues for mail order made laces, ribbons, braids obtainable even in the country.

Loom by Jacquard
Sewing machine by Thimonier

The european folk costume golden age began around the second quarter of the XIXth century.

Its development is linked to the evolution of the industy and the spreading of raw materials.

Having become an object of identity in the European countries, the regional costume gained a political dimension that was confirmed each time a nation will felt threatened as for instance in Alsace. Even if the regional costumes were only ocasionaly worn, this claiming spirit remained very strong mainly in the high cultural identity regions such as Britanny, the Basque country, Tyrol… Industrialisation, rural depopulation and urban fashion got the better of regional costume but this tradition of folk costume continued through dolls.

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• • Regional dolls, souvenir dolls, folk costume dolls... • •

Regional dolls are part of our collective patrimony and deal with the toy world, the costume world and the world of souvenir objects.

The first regional dolls appeared at the end of the XIXth century. The dolls made by the students of a teacher training college for a program held by Marie Koenig had success at the Universal Expo of 1889 and won a gold medal at the 1900 Expo.

Doll created following Marie Koenig's project

Most of the parisian department stores sold regional dolls at that time.
Until the 1930’s, dolls wearing a regional costume were mainly used as a toy and not as a souvenir. The doll could be undressed and sometimes wear the regional costume of a region or another.

From 1936, the generalization of holidays in France as in the other European countries and the democratization of mass tourism made a new type of doll appeare : the souvenir doll.

Cheap little dolls with costumes that reminded one of the native or vacation region were in vogue. These dolls were mainly made of celluloid and from the 1960’s of various plastic materials. Today they are still made of vinyl or bisque.

Regional dolls in their boxes
Magali postcard of regional dolls

Petitcollin catalogue, regional dolls made of molded celluloid

Some firms were specialized in regional costume dolls.
In France the famous « Philippe », « Le Minor » in Britany and « Magali » and « Royal Poupées » in Provence, and many others firms produced a large number of regional dolls sold in every souvenir shop of France showing the richness of popular traditions of our regions.










In Italy, the « Lenci », « Magis », « Monel » or « Vecchiotti » companies did the same.
In Austria, Germany, England, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium and The Netherlands, souvenir dolls were also very popular until the 1970’s.



Czech republic






The netherlands

Then the phenomenon ran out of steam. The tourist habits changed and these little dolls, carefully kept in their transparent boxes, rapidly developped an out-of-date and nearly old-fashioned image which is enjoyed by collectors today.

The regional doll as a collectible item has passed through 3 difficult decades.
The antique doll collectors, mainly attracted by valuable dolls from the XIX and early XXth century, have for a long time neglected and  even despised the regional dolls. Since the 1990’s, more and more amateurs are interested in these dolls because of the details of their costumes and the cultural references they carry.

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• • EEC and regional dolls • •

EEC flag

Flags of the european countries

EEC unites the 25 following countries : Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Great Britan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.

Map of Europe

Every European country produced souvenir dolls wearing their regional costumes.
Some are very recognizable : the Polish girl with her long plait with rubans and flowers in the hair, the Tyrolean with her leather pants and a feather in a felt hat, the Dutchwoman with her headdress and clog, the Spanish girl with her long red flounced dress with a black mantilla in the hair…

clothes' details

clothes' details

Hats' details

Hats' details

Among european countries, France is one to have had a large variety of folk costumes : different from one region to another even sometimes from one village to another and with differences linked to the job, the social class or family status.

• • An exhibit under the colors of EEC • •

This exhibition presents 500 regional dolls from the 1930’s to the 1970’s created in celluloid, composition, bisque, stuffed cloth or plastic materials wearing the traditional costumes of the 25 countries of the EEC.

This trip through Europe will be enjoyed by the fans of regional dolls, collectors looking for dolls from little known places, passionate for folk costumes and children that will discover the richness of regional costumes while checking their geography.

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Around the exhibit...

"Tales and stories from Europe" stories for children

After visiting the museum, go on your trip in the colorated country of regional dolls while listening to stories from the 4 corners of Europe, told by Vanessa Brunel.

Wednesday 4.30 PM from June 7 to 28 and July 19, September 13 and 20

Wednesday at 10 AM and 4.30 PM from July 26 to August 23
with reservation 01 42 72 73 11
Lasting (museum + stories) : about 1h30 - for children from 3 to 10 years old - in French
Prices (visit of the Museum + stories) : 10€/adult - 8€/reduced - 7€/child

"Make your own cloth regional doll" workshops for children

A workshop to make a cloth doll is programmed for children from 5 to 12 years old : stuffing, sewing, drawingt of the face and the costume inspired from those in the exhibition.
After the workshop, children can visit the exhibit and the museum.

Material provided - Limited number of children : 5 to 11 -
Tuesday and Thursday from July 4 to August 31 at 10 AM.
Lasting 2 hours - Price : 12 € (workshop +museum) - With reservation 01 42 72 73 11

Birthday party with dolls

Have a birthday party with your friends and dolls.
Unguided tour of the Museum with an educational questionnaire + cake (not provided) + stories.

Group 8-14 person : 7€/child - 10€/adult.
Group 15-25 person : 6,5€/person.
with reservation 01 42 72 73 11.

A specialized shop – bookstore

The Museum’s shop is opened at the same time as the exhibition rooms, and is also available on this website.

Play dolls and collectible dolls, clothes and accessories, as well as a wide range of books and products are for sale.

A doll hospital and appraisals

The Museum’s doll hospital repairs antique dolls, baby dolls, plush animals... and makes appraisals.
Veronique Derez, our doll doctor, is usually there on Thursday from 11 AM to 4 PM but you can come any other day for an estimate.

Free estimate of the repairs are given on presentation of the sick doll or plush animal. Appraisals and doll identity card with charge are made on appointment and on presentation of the doll.

A seamstress for dolls

The seamstress makes clothes, specially designed for your dolls.

Isabelle Banon, our seamstress, remains at your disposal on Tuesday and Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM to examine your projects.

Free estimate on presentation of the doll to be dressed.

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Next exhibit from June 6 to September 24, 2006

What a show ! the arts of scene in dolls and toys

Museum's collections exhibited elsewere

• "Poupées d'artistes contemporains", Centre culturel Aragon Triolet of Orly
June 22 - July 24, 2006

• "Bécassine une héroïne centenaire", Centre National et Musée Jean Jaurès of Castres
June 15 - September 17, 2006

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