Sunday, September 11, 2016

Restoration and Doll Hospitals

Doll hospitals have probably existed as long as dolls have. It’s no surprise, then, that many of the questions I get from collectors are about repairing dolls.  While The New York Doll Hospital died along with Irving Chaise its legendary owner, there are still doll hospitals around the world in operation.  I have read stories about one in Rome, and one in Australia that were intriguing.  American Girls have their own doll hospital and beauty parlor for maintaining the dolls. We have a need for one locally; we once had at least three, but the owner of the last one operating died this past July.
Clearly, we need another one.   I seriously urge anyone with a certificate in doll repair or expertise in the area to advertise his or her skills widely.  Life Time Career Schools had a course that is still in operation.  From what I’ve read of the lessons and material, it seemed like a credible venture.  In any case, where dolls are concerned, remember to do nothing that can’t be undone.
On the other hand, The Internet features many sites on doll repair.  We don’t personally endorse any of them.  As with anything else, do your homework; don’t send out your dolls if you are unsure. Get references, and ask other customers if they were satisfied.
If you do need help and repair for your dolls, try the website of the Doll Doctors Association, aka DDA, featured recently on CBS’ Sunday Morning. This video is featured on their website.  DDA is “Dedicated to the sharing of knowledge, techniques and philosophies associated with the restoration and preservation of antique and modern dolls.” (Doll Doctor’s Association).
DDA describes itself as a ‘social club created for doll repair specialists,” enthusiasts, and conservation.  They note that they are “not an educational institution,” but that they do serve as inspiration for each other.
There Hospital Locator is a link that helps anyone with access to the DDA website locate a doll hospital in her area. The site features useful links about doll repair and collecting as wells membership information. Active members receive the “Doll Rx Newsletter,” published three times a year.  There is also available for purchase a book called The Best of the Doll Rx.  DDA presents at UFDC convention and holds an annual meeting of its own.
Noted author and collector Genevieve Angione once said that all dolls are collectible.  Since they are collectible, they deserve quality care and conservation.  All antique and vintage dolls are unusual because no more are being made.  We have a finite supply to collect.  Dolls and toys by nature are ephemeral; they were meant to take hard play and not to last, yet they are important cultural artifacts that tell human history as nothing else can.  They deserve to be curated and conserved.  If you are looking for help in doll repair, then DDA is the place to start.

Some Links:

Doll Collecting at; Library of Articles on Doll Restoration.

Doll Doctor's Association.

Fawcett, Clara Hallard.  On Making, Mending and Dressing Dolls.

Holub, Joan.  Doll House Series.  Scholastic Books.

I am not a Doll Doctor, but here are my Home Remedies for Dolls.

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