Posted on June 27th, 2012 by Rachel
A blog post by Education Intern Lisa Perrin.
Paper dolls are very dear to my heart. I collected them obsessively as a child and fretted endlessly about whether or not to cut them out. I loved the costumes and the potential for storytelling in each paper doll book. And I did not realize it at the time, but I was learning. Paper dolls shaped my sense of history. When I think of the Civil War era I envision hoop skirts and mutton chops. I can picture the straight silhouettes of the 1920s and the flared, tailored dresses of the 1950s. Knowing about the styles of those eras has helped me better understand them in a grander sense.
An example of a paper doll I was commissioned to make for the Mutter Museum gift store in Philadelphia, PA of Dr. Mutter, for whom the museum is named.
It will come as no surprise that I began to make my own paper dolls inspired by history and literature. I also sold them through an online Etsy shop and discovered that many people feel a special connection to this simple toy. During my education department internship interview with the Jewish Museum of Maryland I mentioned my passion for making paper dolls. I was met with a great sense of enthusiasm and an idea for a project. I was asked to create a series of paper dolls representing famous Maryland Jews to be used as learning tools. I am very excited because I know of very few paper dolls depicting Jewish people.
- A working sketch of my first paper doll: Mendes Cohen, a Jewish man who served in the war of 1812.
My hope is to make paper dolls that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds as a unique and fun way to educate them about the history of the Jewish people in this state.
Stay tuned for updated posted on my progress!