Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Saying Sayonara To Our Japanese Exhibit

Nothing is certain except change and that maxim is equally true here at Brighton Toy and Model Museum. Always a point of discussion among staff and visitors, the collection of Japanese dolls that were displayed in the cabinet at the north end of the museum’s first gallery are currently being replaced. 

After years on display the dolls are being removed and returned to their owner. Some people will be sorry to see them go while others welcome the chance to put a new display into the cabinet. Debate was often centred around these dolls, some thinking that they were ornaments rather than toys, and as such, didn’t really deserve their place in a toy and model museum. Those on their side maintained that they were models of human figures and, as such, deserved their place among the dolls houses, domestic playthings and scale figures.

A Taste Of Things To Come? A Glimpse Into Chris' Workshop.
However, as with any museum, space is at a premium so the decision had to be taken to remove them. Having been with us for such a long time, they had become something of an institution, but now they have been removed it’s given us the opportunity to carry out long overdue maintenance of the cabinet where they were homed. Gordon, maintenance expert, is taking advantage of their absence to properly damp-proof and tank in the cabinet, meaning that if anything goes wrong (such as the flooding we once experienced several years ago) the objects we have on display won’t be in any danger.

As well as damp proofing the space, Gordon also has to build shelving to fit and provide a new lighting solution which will show off the new attraction to its best advantage. It’s anticipated that this work should be carried out and completed well ahead of our 25th anniversary next year and the exhibit will be well established as a favourite among our visitors by then.

So, what is the new exhibit going to be? 

Brighton Toy and Model museum has for a long time, had a wide and varied collection of dolls’ houses and dolls’ house furniture. There has always been a yen to increase the amount of space that is devoted to exhibiting our collection of antique furniture, buildings, and oddments you would expect to find in a well loved doll house, the only problem we had was finding the necessary space to display it. So once the decision was reached to return the Japanese dolls to their owner, it was clear what to do with the room that became available.

Brighton Toy and Model Museum thank Anne Paige-Phillips for allowing us to borrow and display her collection of Japanese dolls for such a long time and hope that they are looking forward to their rest and retirement.


  1. Ooh, I look forward to seeing photos of the dolls houses! That's a lovely Gottschalk in the workshop - and I think that the museum still has some dolls houses which were my grandmother's (Mrs Jean Palmer - my uncle Peter Palmer used to volunteer at the museum).

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