Barbie Doll

In 1959 the Mattel toy company introduced Barbie. Unlike most dolls at the time, Barbie was a grown-up—a teenage fashion model who could date, drive, and wear fabulous clothes. While often criticized for her unrealistic physical proportions and for promoting gender stereotypes, Barbie has also evolved with the times to reflect social and cultural changes in American culture. Since the 1980s she has taken on many new careers, from police officer to paleontologist to presidential candidate.
Object Name
Date made
ca 1958
Mattel, Inc.
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
fiber (overall material)
straw (overall material)
Place Made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Family & Social Life
Popular Entertainment
Artifact Walls exhibit
American Enterprise
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

9/29/2015 5:11:11 PM
Janet Mirsky
The Barbie currently on display in American Enterprise is not a "fresh-from-the-box" original. The doll came with a bunch of curls at the end of the ponytail, which became a frizzy mess if you tried to comb them. So the owner of this doll did what I did with mine- took a scissors to it and cut off the end of the ponytail!
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