The dolls left here are known as “patients” and each one has its own “patient chart” and bed number. Nothing out of the ordinary; this is a hospital, after all. It treats all kinds of illnesses and afflictions and carries out countless surgeries and aesthetic interventions. If it were to open today perhaps it would not be called a “hospital”, but a “spa” or “wellness centre”. For there is so much love and care involved in the treatment of each patient here that there is no doubt that any one of these dolls will leave totally revitalised and ready for a new life. Like in a spa… However, it is possible, or even probable, that the hospital’s founder, Dona Carlota, would not agree with that interpretation. When, almost two centuries ago, in 1830, she sat at the door sewing and mending rag dolls, she could not have imagined that things would take on these proportions. For in addition to the hospital, there is also the shop, the workshop for restoration of other types of toys, the making of garments, traditional regional costumes and carnival outfits, and the museum.
The museum alone has more than 3,500 types of dolls; a number that can only be an estimate, given that donations and offers of new dolls arrive on a practically daily basis. There is no more space for new residents, giving the museum, which is filled to overflowing with doll’s eyes and faces and forms, and limbs and costumes, that is almost excessive. But that is what makes each visit a very special experience, even if not always a comforting one. As a childhood icon, the doll takes us to a place in our own past – and we all know that childhood is rarely a time of exclusive happiness – and it is incredible to see how different visitors experience the museum. Fears and fantasies; growth and discovery.
As far as the hospital is concerned, a lot of the customers are adults seeking to keep childhood memories alive, filling the space with biographies and memories and giving it a weight that transcends the material issue of the broken arm or the aesthetic question of a torn dress. These dolls are part of us.
Restoration/repair of dolls, cuddly toys, other toys, porcelain, paintings and sacred art; sale of miniatures: doll’s houses, interior fittings, porcelain, wall and floor paper, lamps, furniture and accessories in scales 1:12 and 1:24