Dollhouse, 1898

Seven-year-old Beatrice Johanna Johnstone née Greib got this dollhouse as a present in 1898.  She passed down her beloved dollhouse to her daughter, who played with it in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  In the 1960s, a highpoint for American interest in dollhouses, Beatrice returned to and renovated the house.

Installation of dollhouse outside the Girlhood (It's complicated) exhibit

Installation of dollhouse outside the Girlhood (It's complicated) exhibit

Photo by Jaclyn Nash

Dollhouse, 1970

Courtesy of Henry W. Johnstone

View object record
Dollhouse floorplan

Dollhouse floorplan

Courtesy of Henry W. Johnstone

Dollhouses are popular children’s toys today but the first dollhouses were created for adults who wanted an ornate display of miniatures that would showcase their status and wealth in 16th-century Europe. As ideas of childhood changed in the 19th-century, dollhouses became a tool for teaching girls about their future household responsibilities as well as an object of entertainment and play. In the United States after World War II, dollhouses became very popular and many girls yearned for their own house, along with furniture, décor, and pets.

Looking Game!

We refurnished the house in a mid-century modern style to reflect its heyday in the 1960s.  We also added dogs, cats, and other pets to create a looking game.

  • What do you see in this dollhouse? 
  • How many dogs can you find? 
  • How many cats can you find? 
  • What other animals do you see? 

Check out more images of the dollhouse below