The Weston Park Museum hosts ‘Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House’, an exhibition which takes visitors on a journey through the history of the home through 12 intricately crafted doll houses spanning over 300 years.
On tour from the V&A Museum of Childhood, the exhibition sees country mansions, suburban villas, newly-built council estates and high-rise apartments tell the tales of marriages, parties, politics and crime, as each house is brought to life by the characters that live and work there.
The houses show developments in architecture and design, from ornate Georgian townhouses to contemporary urban living spaces. Each house is displayed in interactive showcases that allow visitors to activate audio narration and illuminate characters as they share their story.
Kirstie Hamilton, Head of Exhibitions and Displays at Museums Sheffield, said “we’re delighted to continue our partnership with the V&A with this exhibition. Small Stories offers a unique window on how we used to live through these wonderful examples of meticulous craftsmanship, some of the stars of the V&A Museum of Childhood’s collection. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the exhibition to Sheffield to share with our visitors at Weston Park Museum.”
The V&A Museum of Childhood’s collections will be complemented by a dolls’ house from Sheffield’s own collection dating from around 1900, on show in the museum’s main thoroughfare. The house was made for a little girl called Dorothy. When she was young she pronounced her own name as “Dophy”, and called the house ‘Dophy Villa’. The house has working electric lights and was decorated with contemporary wallpaper and flooring.
Other highlights of the exhibition include 19030s hedonistic haven, a home prepared for WW2 and a modern, millennial house:
Whiteladies House was designed and by artist Moray Thomas in the 1930 and reflects some of the Modernist country villas that were emerging at the time. Features include chrome furniture, a cocktail bar and artworks by British Futurist Claude Flight, as well as a swimming pool. Its story centres on a house party, with revellers enjoying the pool and sunbathing on the roof.
The Hopkinson House is based on the houses in 1930s suburbs. The interiors show a Second World War-era family in intricate detail, poised for an air-raid, with miniature gasmasks, ration books and torches for the blackouts.
Kaleidoscope House (2011) was house was designed by Laurie Simmons. Its multi-coloured translucent walls are filled with miniature replicas of furniture and artworks by Ron Arad, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger. The house is home to a design conscious step-family living in the new millennium.
The exhibition is open to the public until 7th January and entrance is free.