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Care Of Old Dolls
Dust, moths, and in some cases, extremes of temperature are the enemies of old dolls. A tight cupboard with glass doors offers the best safeguard from dust. Second-best protection is to cover the dolls singly or in groups with glass domes such as covered wax flowers and stuffed birds in Victorian parlors. These are no longer manufactured, but may sometimes be bought in antique shops, though the old ones are getting scarce and of course are hard to ship as they break easily.
Another useful device for protecting small dolls is a shadow box. Behind the opening of a deep oval or square Victorian picture frame you may have built a box of composition or wood some three inches deep. Line it with velvet or a small-patterned wallpaper to suit the decoration of a room and place a strip of velvet on the floor for a carpet. The dolls are then arranged in the box which can be fastened to the picture frame with a hook and two screw eyes on each side of the box.
Whatever the dust protection used, it is wise also to sprinkle paradichloride-benzene crystals to deter moths. In the cupboard, you can use small bags of crystals, concealed here and there under a doll's long dress. When a large doll with a wig is exposed in a room, sprinkle the crystals in the hair occasionally and when it is not an exhibit, tie cellophane over the head, fastening it tightly around the neck.
Wax dolls should be kept at room temperatures of sixty to eighty degrees, Fahrenheit, and should never be exposed to extremes of heat and cold, as in shipping. Extreme heat will melt thSe wax and extreme cold will cause it to crack and peel.
Papier-mache dolls, particularly Milliners' Models with small heads, are also damaged by extreme cold and should not be shipped in winter or the finish may crack. We have seen more than one fine old Milliners' Model ruined by being exposed to very cold weather.
Wire stands of various sizes for displaying dolls are again on the market. Stands with plastic bases for small dolls may be purchased at some stores. Dolls look much neater when mounted on stands.