Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Fresh Laundry

by Conservation

10/4/2018

Dollyver , behind the scenes , conservation

Aw, fresh laundry hanging on the line on a crisp fall day! This week in textile conservation we did a load of laundry: doll clothes from the Dollyver family set of dolls currently undergoing conservation treatment. We don’t actually dry textiles this way in conservation, but the temptation to bring together these highly detailed and realistic doll clothes with just the right size of tiny clothespins (available in craft stores) won over for a quick photo op. From left to right, this load of laundry includes a petticoat, chemise, and drawers belonging to Cousin Annie (1920.288) and apron, drawers, and lace cap belonging to Aunt Matilda (192.281).

These pieces were actually cleaned in two small batches in a tray (where the process could be carefully controlled and monitored) and then patted with blotting paper and allowed to dry flat. This is a unique opportunity to admire the detail of the dolls’ underwear (petticoat, drawers and chemise) before it disappears again under their cleaned and repaired clothing. Hopefully Annie and Matilda aren’t too embarrassed to have their unmentionables briefly displayed and admired.