Collections Management

Originally, the purpose of this blog was to provide ‘transparency’ into the process of museum making. Process, however, implies progress…forward motion. When you don’t have a site yet and you are still searching for funding, motion is mostly in a lateral direction. Much networking, many nets cast in various directions, but not a lot of forward motion – YET.

But since we have this blog, there should be some value assigned to it, and that should be KEEPING YOU INTERESTED IN US! So from time to time, we will share musings (there’s that root word again – ‘muse’, as in ‘museum’ and ‘amusement’…strangely enough ‘mousa’ the Greek root is a ‘word of unknown origin’) related to all things toy. And when we do have something of significance to report, you will hear about it here!

So, Collections Management – We recently were presented with a cache of vintage Barbie-phenalia. This substantial legacy came in much the same manner as it existed during its ‘play’ lifetime – jumbled up in various boxes and plastic cases with clothes and accessories stored higgledy-piggledy. There were two Barbies – one of ponytail vintage and one of the bubble cut era; a first edition Midge; a now de-flocked headed Ken; a molded hair Ken; a Skipper; an African American Francie; and two Tuttis. Also included in the group: a Twiggy doll.

The condition of these pieces was as one might expect after passing through the hands of three sisters, a cousin, and a child of one of the sisters. But the most disturbing part was the fact that they were all STICKY. This stickiness is due to the fact that the vinyl used to make Barbie has become toxic with age (not unlike some people). It would be ironic that a doll, customarily an object that encourages the nurturing nature of little girls, might be the source of future infertility.

But as I am past the age of worrying about my fertility I bravely proceeded to wash the dolls in the web-recommended manner (mild dishwashing soap followed by powdering in cornstarch) and prepared them for storage. I stopped short of washing hair, de-tangling with fabric softener, and setting said tresses with pencil rollers and boiling water. I will leave that work for our future Collections Manager.