Thursday 28 July 2016

The George W. Cooper Doll Collection - USA

Imagine our delight when we discovered that the Central Library of Rochester which was a very short walk down the road from the hotel we were staying in at the Sasha Festival had a wonderful collection of over 200 dolls tucked away in their 'Secret Room' in the Children's part of the library.

The George W. Cooper Collection is named in honour of a local elementary school principal who organised the collection.  The students and teachers in 1935 wrote to the then existing 69 countries of the world and founded an exchange of dolls.  The students sent each country a Shirley Temple doll from the United States in exchange for a doll dressed in the traditional clothing of that country.
In 1940 the students of this school presented the collection of approximately 170 dolls to the Rochester Public Library.  The total number in the collection today is over 200 thanks to the gifts from individual donors.  These are from countries that have since achieved independence.

What an amazing teacher Mr Cooper must have been to have seen the potential of this project in helping the children to appreciate and understand different cultures.  To enable the children and teachers to raise money to purchase the Shirley Temple dolls to send to these countries, they sold salt.  Each time a new doll arrived the whole school would be called together in an assembly to see the new doll or crate of dolls that arrived.  How exciting that must have been.

Peggy Sue and I were enthralled and excited to see so many different dolls representing their different National costumes.

Peggy Sue was a little bit bothered by them all being behind glass, but I reassure her it was for their own protection.

I told her that unfortunately there are people who might want to hurt or kidnap the dolls so they need to be kept safe.

She still felt a little sad about them not being able to get out

But I told her that probably when the library is closed and all is safe, they probably venture out then to play and chat to each other.

She was a bit puzzled at how they might do that as they were all from different countries, but I told her that probably over the years they have learnt to understand each other...after all most have been together for a long time now.

We continue to look round this amazing collection.

What an amazing collection of dolls to represent different countries and cultures of the World.  We feel so very lucky that we were able to visit this collection and enjoyed it very much.

Sunday 24 July 2016

the Strong National Museum of Play - Wow!

Thursday morning before the Sasha Festival started a group of us set off for the Strong Museum in Rochester.  

Oh, look it says it is the Museum of PLAY!  What fun!

Looking promising...

A Carousel - Can I go on it please?


Something for the people who sew

My little friend and her person.

Trying to see inside the doll house - it was pretty impressive

I wish I was a little taller!

Just after this was taken I was distracted as a couple of nice ladies who work at the museum wanted to chat to me - they were very interested to know all about me!

I continued to look at the dolls houses and all that was inside them.

Moving on to more displays there was so much to look at for both boys and girls.

Loved all these soft toys

That is one pretty cool sock monkey!

Look at all his gear.

Playing the piano standing up?!  I hope she doesn't get tired standing all the time.

Enjoying afternoon tea.


Pretty girl.


This girl is interesting...she is a bit like the bionic man!


Schoenhut - sadly this was all there was, no dolls to show Peggy Sue and friends.

We used to have a Chrissy doll in our family (the girl at the back in the orange) but she moved on to live with someone else as did all her siblings and cousins!

Mum remembers her sister having this book.

Cute little Nanccy Ann dolls - we have some of these.

Penny Brite also lives with us.

Star trek!  Cool.

One of Mum's first dolls was a Malibu Skipper and then along came Malibu Barbie - she still has both.

Buzz Lightyear also has a home here - he belongs to 'The Sailor'

This was a pretty incredible Dolls House of the modern variety.

The importance of personal play when caring for a child with special needs can never be under-estimated.  Also very important when dealing with chronic pain and other health issues.

There were so many details in this collection.

Lego!  Always a firm favourite

Planes, trains and automobiles.

Isn't she pretty?

A Buffalo Bills Helmet for the fan of the family.


You are going to let me down aren't you?

There was a miniature supermarket where children could go in and do their shopping and ring up their bill which printed a receipt - what fun.

Shh...don't let Dad know I am standing on his camera case.

But I needed to stand on something to be able to see...

Wish I could play with these.

What are they doing way up there?!

Taking care of my little friend.

I can fly!  This time on a very colourful dragon.

Playing with bubbles

This was a lot of fun.

A 'behind the scenes' action shot.

I was too small to reach the bubble so needed a helping hand.

Lastly an 'Etch A Sketch' portrait of me.

I hope you enjoyed the trip around the Strong Museum of Play as much as I did.  There was so much more to see that we didn't get a chance to, but it was still a lot of fun and so very interesting.