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Dollhouses at the Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse Museum located in Sydney Australia is a popular museum with a
collection of more than 385,000 objects in the areas of history, 
science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and even space exploration. Some of the most interesting items in the collection are dollhouses and miniatures. The collection includes a modern dollhouse from Dinosaur Designs, a unique dollhouse from the 1930’s created from a packing case used in farming, a 1950’s tin Mettoy dollhouse, a matchstick dollhouse, a carved dollhouse created by Yootha Rose and the most famous dollhouse of the collection the Bosdyk Dolls House.

Bosdyk Dolls House
The Bosdyk Dolls House is a twenty room wonder that reportedly took 15,000 hours to build. The dollhouse was a labor of love for Frans and Christina Bosdyk who created the dollhouse during the period of 1997 to 2006. Frans who is an electrical instrument maker made much of the miniature furniture himself while Christina designed the décor. The Bosdyks who are Dutch immigrants to Australia created the dollhouse in the tradition of seventeenth century Dutch miniatures with elaborate attention to detail. The house has five levels and the scale of the house and furniture is 1:12 scale. The furnishings include door handles that work, drawers that slide, lamps that light up, and Christmas presents ready to open.

Vanderfield Doll House
A more recent acquisition to the Powerhouse Museum in Australia is the Janet Vanderfield Doll House which dates to World War II. The mock Tudor dollhouse was originally purchased as a Christmas present for the then seven year old Janet Vanderfield from the well known toy shop Walther and Stevenson in Sydney. It is a wonderful example of life in the 1940’s. Janet was a child collector of dollhouse furniture and bought many of the furnishings from Walther & Stevenson’s. Janet’s auntie made the dollhouse bedding, curtains and cushions and Janet’s father electrified the dollhouse lights. Janet kept the dollhouse for 66 years keeping it just like it was when she was a child which is a very rare occurrence for dollhouses to remain intact over the years.

Another recent addition to the dollhouse collection is a dollhouse created by the staff at the newspaper company the Sydney Morning Herald which was given to a former staffer’s eleven year old daughter Elaine Sellers in 1946 after her father Charles Sellers died in a Japanese war camp in 1945. Charles had always said he was going to make a dollhouse for his daughter but he never got the opportunity. As a popular newspaper staff member, the staff decided to create it for his daughter in his memory.

In addition to dollhouses, the Powerhouse Museum has a large collection of antique and vintage children’s toys including tin toys and Hornby trains.

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