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Building a rare museum, doll by doll
July 18, 2006 15:06 IST
For a group of students in a North Carolina school, making a doll for children in India was more for a cause than fun and work.
They named the doll Black-eyed Susan, and gave her a warm send-off. It was winged away to a museum in Rajkot, the princely town of Saurashtra.
Their teacher too was quite supportive. "Thank you for giving the children an opportunity to experience the joy of sharing," she wrote to Deepak Agrawal, director of the museum in Rajkot.
It was Agrawal, a staunch Rotarian, who first hit upon the idea to build a dolls' museum, by using the network of Rotarians across the globe for the purpose.
"We first made an appeal to about 28,000 Rotary clubs in 165 countries to contribute a doll for the museum and received an overwhelming response," he said.
The museum, known as the Rotary Dolls Museum, is today a home to 1400 dolls from 95 countries.
"It is also an effort to promote universal brotherhood and to get an insight into various cultures. The museum has a unique collection and is probably the only one to be built by such collaborative effort," he said and added that he has approached by the Limca Book of Records to recognise the effort.
After the success of the museum, Agrawal now plans to set up a theme park in the city, which will showcase a 'mini world' of dolls and depict traditions and culture of six continents.
The proposal for the Rs 5 crore project has been submitted to the Gujarat government with a request to allot five acres of land in Rajkot for the purpose, he said.
It will also house a Dolls' University, which will be devoted to the study of culture and heritage of various countries. "It is at the planning stage and we need the government's support," he said.
Talking about the museum's prized possessions, he said its icon is a rocking zebra. "Only five such zebras are found in this world and we are proud to say that Rajkot has one," he said.
The zebra also has a time capsule in its tummy, depicting pictures and notes about lives of people of UK and India. "If found after 1000 or 2000 years, this capsule can give information about our civilisations to the future generations," he said.
The zebra, too, has been made by children of a school in the south of England, who came forward to contribute to the cause of global brotherhood, he said.
Another priceless possession which the museum boasts of is a Scottish piper in full Highland dress, made by a 90-year-old lady. Neither old age nor the dreaded Parkinson's disease could dampen Margaret Lovelock's spirits when she sat down to make it.
"'She may not live to see the joy she has brought in the children's eyes, but her creation will be long remembered," says Agarwal.
It also houses some rare Barbies, one of which commands a market price of Rs 35,000, sent by the maker Ruth Heller's family.