The Museum of Unique DollsRussian: Muzey unikalnyih kukol or Музей уникальных кукол is a small but very unusual museum, located in the area of the old Pokrovka StreetRussian: ulitsa Pokrovka or улица Покровка. It opened its doors in 1996. The museum boasts a collection of over 7,000 display items, including dolls from various periods of time, from all over the world. Most of them are true masterpieces, and some of them are especially interesting because they have participated in famous Russian movies and cartoons. A wide range of doll accessories, such as dish sets, houses and clothing, are also on view. A visit to this curious museum will make the time spent with your child in downtown Moscow even more exciting.
A PLETHORA OF DOLLS
As is often the case, this unique collection of dolls is not the result of a particularly determined effort. It all started with one old doll found among some antique items, and an entire museum gradually emerged from just one collection throughout the 1990s. It features not only dolls for girls coming from France, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Russia and Japan, but also figurines for boys, including toy soldiers, cannons and generals.
The exhibition takes up one room, with three-tiered glass showcases installed along the perimeter. This arrangement is not very practical, especially for little viewers who will find it hard to get a good look at the pieces displayed on the upper tier, but the museum’s small size doesn’t not allow any other way of organizing it. The good news is that you can touch some toys, listen to the sounds they emit and get familiar with dolls from the world of our great-grandparents, so different from our own. Videos played in the room tell viewers about the rare mechanical dolls from the museum’s collections and show viewers how they move.
At the entrance, you will see the museum’s lucky charm, the well-known ‘Doll of Tutti, heir to the throneRussian: Кукла наследника Тутти’ from the movie The Three Fat MenRussian: Три толстяка (1966) based on a book by Yuri Oleshaone of the greatest Russian novelists of the 20th century. Latvian acress Lina Brankite who starred in this movie served as a model for the doll, whose expressive, yet scornful face is familiar to all those born in the Soviet Union. Just like many other dolls on display, the puppeteer and stage designer Yuliya Vishnevskaya, the founder of the museum, saved it from oblivion.
The museum takes particular pride in the porcelain dolls manufactured in Russia at DunayevRussian: Дунаев and FedoseyevRussian: Федосеев plants. Late 19th-century dolls are particularly expressive, with their glass blue eyes and rosy cheeks, dressed in lace and wearing bonnets. The fragment of a doll dress dating back to 1650 and a 17th-century English doll are the oldest pieces on display! You will see here the Pierotti doll, the ‘Masha doll’, which featured in the well-known musical video by the Russian boy band Ivanushki Internationalfamous Russian pop band of the 90s, and many more. The exhibition features jukeboxes that play 19th-century music during the tours. You will also learn many interesting things about boudoir dolls, which early 20th-century grand dames would take along with them when they went out.
The big collection of Soviet dolls features, in particular, the well-known Domovyonok KuzyaRussian: домовёнок Кузя from the eponymous cartoon as well as dolls dressed in USSR ethnic dresses. The showcases have small tags with information about the time when the showpieces were created.
IT’S the real deal
A visit to the museum will leave no little girl indifferent; there is miniature furniture, clothing and shoes, hats and umbrellas, household items, silverware and dinnerware are on display, in addition to wonderful dolls and rose cheeked figurines. The miniature version of the Tudor English house features a fully equipped kitchen, bedrooms and living rooms. Interesting doll houses made by Pyotr Lukoyanov are also on view, and visitors may even open some of them and examine their interiors.
THE MUSEUM’S ACTIVITIES
The museum also has its own restoration workshop and a specialized atelier where doll collectors will contribute to designing dresses worthy of their dolls. The souvenir shop is there to help you enrich your collection with some rare dolls available for purchase. The museum also participates in antique shows on a regular basis, hosting exhibitions and charity events. You are welcome to use an audio guide to make the most of your visit to the museum.
A warm atmosphere, interactivite displays and a friendly attitude towards visitors prevail in this museum founded by Yuliya Vishnevskaya. This is probably the reason visitors often bring their own dolls here to contribute to the displays. For example, one morning, a museum employee even found an authentic 19th-century German doll left at the entrance to the museum!© 2016-2018 moscovery.com