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Published: June 6, 2016
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Exhibition Features One-of-a-Kind Contemporary “Dream House” Installation

Small Stories
Amy Miles’ House, England, 1890.© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

—This summer, the National Building Museum will serve as the only U.S. venue for Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse, which will feature a stunning selection of 12 historical dollhouses spanning the past 300 years from the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London. As a contemporary update, the exhibition will also showcase the artistic interpretations of a dollhouse by a group of 24 diverse American architects, designers, and artists. This “Dream House” installation of miniature interiors will bring the long history of the dollhouse full circle to the present day. Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse will be on view May 21, 2016 through January 22, 2017.

Small Stories explores the history of British domestic life and provides a miniature-sized, up-close view of developments in architecture and design, from a Georgian town house and suburban mansion, to a 1960s high-rise and a Le Corbusier-style white villa. Displayed chronologically, most of the houses come complete with period furniture and interior fittings. Each house is displayed to reflect a particular moment in history. Visitors can use buttons alongside the cases to activate the audio narration and light up the characters as they talk.

Building on the historical realities and escapist fantasies of dollhouse play, the Museum commissioned artists and designers from across the country to create rooms on a miniature scale for the Dream House in the final gallery of the exhibition. Artists were encouraged to explore any time period—past, present, or future—for their tiny world and their three-dimensional room could take the form of any space in the house. The 15-inch-square wooden boxes range from the aspirational and whimsical, to the fantastical, technological and practical. Featured artists include:

  • Mars Tokyo Designs
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Paige Hathaway
    Hyattsville, Maryland
  • Resource Furniture and Ollie
    New York, New York
  • Eileen Doughty
    Vienna, Virginia
  • Cuddles and Rage
    Elkridge, Maryland
  • Nix + Gerber Studio
    Brooklyn, New York
  • The Mouse Market
    Columbia, Missouri
  • KUBE Architecture PC
    Washington, D.C.
  • L. Delaney
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Rebecca Heaton and Suzan Maher
    Montgomery Village/Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Samuel C. Miller III
    Alexandria, Virginia
  • Jill Orlov
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Patrick J. Baglino, Jr., ASID
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sushmita Mazumdar
    Arlington, Virginia
  • Kendall Dorman, Wiebenson & Dorman Architects PC
    Washington, D.C.
  • Louise Krasniewicz
    Belmar, New Jersey
  • Olvia Demetriou, FAIA
    Washington, D.C.
  • Wendy Evans Joseph and Fleet Hower
    New York, New York
  • Debbie and Mike Schramer
    Sandy, Utah
  • Bridget Sue Lambert
    Washington, D.C.
  • Daisy Tainton
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Paris Renfroe, PRD Miniatures
    North Las Vegas, Nevada
  • J. Ford Huffman
    Washington, D.C.
  • Marshall Moya Designs
    Washington, D.C.

“This exhibition gives us a rare opportunity to examine the history of British architecture and design from an entirely unexpected perspective,” says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “These treasured dollhouses surprisingly allow us to look with a fresh set of eyes at the evolution of design trends as well as the impact our homes continue to have on the way we live and express ourselves.”

For more information about the exhibition, press images, and related programs, contact the Museum's marketing & communications department.

A fully illustrated book, Dolls’ Houses from the V&A Museum of Childhood, accompanies the exhibition. The author is Halina Pasierbska, former Curator of Dolls’ Houses and Toys at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

The V&A Museum of Childhood aims to encourage everyone to explore the themes of childhood past and present and develop an appreciation of creative design through its inspirational collections and programmes. The Museum is part of the V&A, housing the national childhood collection. The galleries are designed to show the collections in a way which is accessible to adults and children of all ages. V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA UK www.vam.ac.uk/moc

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook.

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