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This Cultural Treasure, Once a Traveling Exhibition, is the Only Museum in the United States Dedicated to and Focused on Preserving the History of Black Dolls

(Header image, courtesy of the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, are of dolls that are among the more than 6,000 in the museum’s collection.)

Willwork Global Event Services is a leading international exhibition services and event management company.

Willwork Global Event Services works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the United States.  We also work internationally.  Indeed, our international business is growing fast. 

We launched in 1987.  Our corporate office is located about 25 miles south of Boston, in South Easton, MA, a section of the incorporated town of Easton.  Willwork Global Event Services operates offices in major metropolitan areas across America.

On our blog, and across our social media channels, we take the opportunity to tie in, and integrate, current and historic events and anniversaries to the business of Willwork Global Event Services: exhibitions and events. 

This we are doing today with a post in honor and commemoration of Black History Month, an ennobling and important national annual event.

February is Black History Month.

Last year, on this blog, we gave tribute to Black History Month with a post titled, “Museums and Exhibitions, and Tours, That Honor and Educate About the Black Experience in America.”

Beyond, and in addition to the subject matter described in the title of the post, the post included background on Black History Month and how the event came to be.

For Black History Month 2019, we are taking a look at another exhibition that honors and educates about the black experience in our republic.

Aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman doll at the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

In conducting research for this post, we were pleased to learn about a trove of a celebration of black culture in Mansfield, MA, a town that borders Easton (again, the community that hosts the Willwork headquarters).

At 288 North Main Street in Mansfield resides the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, a museum (and we submit a museum is a type of exhibition) that is, as described on the organization’s website, “Celebrating black history through the eyes of a doll collector.”

The National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (NBDMHC) s the only museum in America dedicated to and focused on preserving the history of black dolls.

Founder of the museum is Debra Britt, 65, a Mansfield resident.  Ms. Britt is one of eight children who grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. She started collecting black dolls as a child.  Ms. Britt, who worked at the South Station post office for 21 years, has collected a lot of dolls.  She founded a nonprofit museum which took the dolls on the road and made them accessible to the public.

Story of racial inequality in America told in a dollhouse (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

How did the NBDMHC come to take residence in downtown Mansfield?

A portion of an answer to that question is found in the following excerpt from a story, “In Mansfield, a one-of-a-kind collection of black dolls,” published on September 29, 2017 in the South regional section of the Boston Globe:

“For years, the nonprofit museum was a traveling exhibit, more than 5,000 dolls, carried to battered women’s shelters, soup kitchens, and schools; stored in boxes and tubs in her attic, basement, and garage.  But eventually Britt …  and her two sisters tired of packing and unpacking and lugging boxes around. Britt’s husband, a retired Boston police officer, was losing patience as the dolls overtook the couple’s Mansfield home.”

What to do with a collection that kept growing and growing?

In 2012, a saving solution was realized when Ms. Britt found affordable and vacant commercial space on North Main Street. 

Tribal dolls (image courtesy of the NBDMHC)

Please click here to be taken to the full Boston Globe story, which is written by Hattie Bernstein.

Today the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture has more than 6,000 dolls.  It runs a busy schedule of educational programs, workshops, readings, tours, discussions … and more.

The renown and profile of the museum continues to rise.

“Learning from Toys,” a story about the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, by Nell Porter Brown, was published in the May, June 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine.

Willwork Global Event Services is confident that the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture will continue to attract more and more attention and interest, and will continue grow and expand its reach and influence and value as a curator and teacher of black culture. 

Marvel Comics action hero General Okoyne doll (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

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