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The Dollhouse Museum at Basel

The Dollhouse Museum (Puppenhausmuseum) has the largest collection of dollhouses anywhere in Europe. Located in the City Center of Basel, in Switzerland, the museum contains over 6,000 dolls, teddy bears, shadow boxes, miniature stores, and dollhouses. On a regular basis, the museum has special exhibits in the toy and miniature area.

Most of the dollhouses and miniature pieces are from both the 19th and 20th centuries. The dollhouses displayed in the Dollhouse Museum, are examples of miniature homes that have been popular since the 16th century. Duke Albrecht V created the first known miniature home when he ordered a pint size replica of his royal palace in Bavaria in the year 1557.

This concept of making miniature copies of stately homes was copied by other wealthy families and the popularity of miniature homes continued in both the 17th and 18th centuries. These homes were not toys but were constructed as status symbols and works of art that showed society that the family with an artistic miniature house was a family with standing. In last half of the 19th century doll homes or toy homes began to be constructed for the children in the home. Initially, the doll houses were used to teach the young girls in the home the basics of running a household. Eventually, dollhouses became special toys, though some adults continued the tradition of Duke Albrecht V creating stately works of art in miniature.

Dollhouse MuseumIn addition, to antique dollhouses, The Dollhouse Museum at Basel, maintains a collection of new and unique dollhouses. The general scale of the miniature homes is 1” to 1 foot. By visiting the Dollhouse Museum, you can stroll through the exhibit and see a history of home and interior design through the years. The museum continues to attract new miniature exhibits to their halls, as the museum provides special commissions to artists from around the world to create miniature scenes of their designs. Dollhouses in the museum come from all over the world including Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the United States.

The Dollhouse Museum is located at the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel, on Steinenvorstadt 1, in Basel, Switzerland.

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