One of my happiest memories starts with entering the living room early on Christmas Day, when I was about six or seven, to find a present so large it had to be wrapped in a sheet.
When I pulled it off, with much fanfare, I discovered my dad had converted a bookcase into a fully furnished dolls’ house to rival any Barbie Dreamhouse, which was the must have toy of that year.
While he had been busy constructing this secret project in his shed, my mum had also been hard at work making a shoebox full of tiny new cloths for my dolls.
Best. Christmas. Ever.
It still makes me smile to think about it – and I’m sure nostalgia was part of the reason I was so excited about visiting the Small Stories: At Home In A Dolls’ House exhibition at Norwich Castle.
In a fun twist, the tales behind 12 of the V&A Museum of Childhood’s most treasured dolls’ houses are told by their tiny inhabitants.
Using audio and light, the houses come to life as we “journey through 300 years of the history of the home and listen to takes of marriages and parties, politics and crime”.
The chance to peek inside these beautiful treasures, from a country mansion to a high-rise apartment (as we live in a flat, I loved this one), is such a treat – as is learning more about how dolls’ houses came to be. One visit won’t be enough for me.
There was even some unexpected kitchen envy.
Aimed at all the family, there are chances to shrink to doll size, dress up, and experience daily life in the 1840s and 1960s in room recreations.
The finale is Dream House 2017, featuring “magical, miniature rooms” specially created by Norfolk architects, artists, makers, students, and school groups.
* The exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery runs until June 25th. For more info about opening times and ticket prices please click here.