In Italy, on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Lake Maggiore, is a museum in a medieval period building dedicated to dolls and dollhouses and toys. The Museo della Bambola di Angera presents a collection of dolls, toys and dollhouses from the Borromea family. The museum was founded in 1988 and the twelve rooms of the museum contain a priceless collection of antique dolls, miniature furniture, board games, table toys, and other childhood items.
The unique treasures from the Borromea family, make this museum one of the finest museum of dolls and miniatures in Europe. In this unique museum you will find dolls made of wax, and paper mache, fabric, and porcelain. There are also wooden dolls from the 1700’s. In walking through the collection you see how dolls and miniatures have evolved through history. You see the clothes of the time, the aesthetics, and how the upper crust lived in the 1700’s and 1800’s.
There are over 1,000 pieces from childhood in the museum collection making it one of the largest collections of toys, dolls and miniatures in Europe. There is much to learn from viewing the collection. The clothes on the dolls is like viewing the progression of children’s fashions through history. While the miniatures show us unique items that are impossible to find in normal size but have survived in miniature. The dolls and miniatures are from Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany. There are even some items from the United States such as the original Shirley Temple doll from 1936. Unusual items include the mechanical doll walker from France circa 1880, and the Mannequin doll from also from France which was created in 1870.
If you are lucky enough to visit this museum in Italy, you can take a self guided tour through the collection using an audio headset which is available in several languages including English. The musem is open from late March through late October. The website for the museum is http://www.borromeoturismo.it/.