Do you love antique dolls and dollhouses? Then you must visit Angel’s Attic in Santa Monica, California. The museum is dedicated to antique and contemporary dollhouses, miniatures, dolls and toys of all kinds. Founded in 1984 in one of the last Queen Anne Victorian homes in the area, the museum is treasure trove of antique children’s play things. It’s almost impossible to explain how many dolls are on display, so I will show you a few of the dozens of photos I took during my visit.
Doll Houses Galore
Enter the beautifully restored Victorian mansion and you find yourself surrounded by dozens of extraordinarily detailed doll houses. Every period in European and American history is on display in styles ranging from San Francisco Victorian to Tudor England. They even have a miniature recreation of Versailles, where a tiny Marie Antoinette accepts a miniature rose from an admirer.
Miniature Rooms and Tiny Furniture
Above is a millinery shop, complete with hats, hat boxes and customers. Below is a tiny toy shop.
The rooms are as detailed as the gowns worn by the dolls. This heraldic room is part of a Tudor doll house.
Below a doll stands at her dressing table, little dog at her feet. Behind her another doll lounges in her boudoir. The docent told us that she originally was dressed in a gown, but it was so delicate that it crumbled to dust when they tried to put her on display.
Dolls from the 18th Century
I have always loved the 18th Century, so I was very excited to see the dolls that were made in this period. The fashionable girl below is one of the oldest and most expensive dolls in the museum. I thought she was beautiful. Can you imagine a child playing with her? I can.
Dolls from the 19th Century
Dolls from the 20th Century
There are no Barbie Dolls on display, but the museum has many dolls from the early 20th century in it’s collection, like this rather terrified looking bride and groom.
The first floor of the museum is dedicated to doll houses and miniatures. On the second floor the doll collection continues with glass cases filled with antique and vintage dolls of all sizes.
There is something universally magical and fascinating about dollhouses and miniatures. They have captivated young and old from the beginning of recorded history. But, it is in the last 400 years that it has been an adult collecting passion. Dollhouses and miniatures are not only an art form, but they are social history. Through these works of art we can follow the changing styles in architecture and interior design, the lessening drudgery of keeping house, the growing and preparation of food, the changing fashions, paintings and books, even the growth of the toy industry. The seven galleries and many display cabinets at Angels Attic provide and intense experience – one of delight, enchantment and discovery.
from the Angel’s Attic Website
The future of Angel’s Attic is somewhat uncertain. The area is seeing explosive growth, and sometimes these wonderful little places are destroyed in the name of “progress”. So if you live in Los Angeles, or if you are visiting in the future, try to take an hour or so to tour the museum. You can find more information on their website AngelsAttic.com.