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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Princess Palace

While many Americans are facing the heartbreak of foreclosure, some are spending money on a different kind of house.A traditional, Victorian style, wood dollhouse can cost over 300 dollars. Quite pricey considering the product is usually being marketed to little girls.Historically, dollhouses were the playgrounds of the privileged, display- ing the lavish surroundings of the up- per classes.One famous example is Queen Mary’s dollhouse. Built in 1924 by ar- chitect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a three- foot tall extravaganza, complete with working toilets, hand painted portraits and murals, and a miniature grand- father clock that chimes on the hour. And you thought your plastic Barbie Dream House was the bomb.Toys come and go but why has the dollhouse remained?The human urge to build miniature houses goes as far back as the ancient tombs of Egypt, where tiny wooden models were found with the tiny live- stock, boats and servants still intact. Early European dollhouses were no less detailed, and quite expansive too. The cost of a well-furnished dollhouse in the 16th century was about the same as the cost of building an average, life- size home.It wasn’t until after the Second World War and the industrial revolu- tion, when the cost of dollhouses de- creased significantly, that they became the playthings of children. Before then, dollhouses were made for and enjoyed strictly by adults.Nowadays, countless little girls learn how to design, decorate and ultimately take care of a home using a dollhouse, turning the miniature home an impor- tant part of our culture.So whether you had a miniature Queen’s Castle, a plastic home from Walmart, or an old shoebox, take some time this October to “play house.”