The V&A Museum of Childhood presents miniature treasures, both old and new

Tiny Furniture

The V&A Museum of Childhood, which is situated in a beautiful, 19th-century brick building in London‘s Bethnal Green, is currently presenting a collection of 12 doll houses from the past 300 years—ranging from a Georgian town house to high-rise apartments—in an exhibition entitled Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House. The show takes viewers on a tour of the history of the home, reflecting changes in use, relationships, and design and architecture over the years. The miniature houses are fully equipped with furniture, household goods, and interior decorations, reflecting the style of their specific eras, as well as the social class of their tiny inhabitants. They act as frames of everyday family life and relationships: occupants get ready for school, listen to music, play a game of pool, or prepare dinner in the kitchen.

As a special feature, the houses are equipped with buttons that trigger narration; each character lights up as he or she talks, drawing us into their miniature worlds. (In addition to the story-telling houses, a further 20 dolls' houses are on display in the permanent galleries of the museum.)

The final highlight of Small Stories is the installation Dream House, for which 20 artists and designers from London were each commissioned to design one tiny, fantasy-driven room. The cumulative Dream House assemblage includes a monster-family's kitchen by Peter Marigold, the longest party table in the world by Paul Piestman (PiestmanGoode), an underwater aquarium bathroom by Katy Christianson, and an exquisite lounge filled with scaled-down version of her own works by Bethan Laura Wood.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House is open until September 6, and will travel across Europe and the United States subsequently.

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