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Spring Hours Start April 1: Friday - Monday, 9AM - Sunset x

Exhibition: Small Wonders: The 1950s Dollhouse Dioramas of Helen Bruce

Photo by Lori Adams
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Saturday & Sunday
9:00 AM - Sunset, and by appointment


Included with all Admission Tickets


Enter the miniature world of Helen Bruce, where female characters take center stage. An artist, dressmaker, and antiquarian, Helen Bruce (1880-1962) began creating vignettes in her 70s combining period and newly-fabricated dolls, clothes, and furnishings with hand-crated and exquisitely hand-painted backdrops. Bruce’s historically-inspired scenes centered women as entrepreneurs, artists, consumers, and mothers.

Bruce made dozens of dioramas for her own enjoyment and a few prominent women collectors. Electra Havermeyer Webb commissioned several for her own collection at Shelburne Museum in Vermont, where they remain on permanent view.  Boscobel acquired these 11 dioramas from Shelburne Museum in the 1990s and we are excited to research and share them for the first time since then.

Like Boscobel, Bruce’s dioramas are beautiful, artfully crafted and curated visions–and due for re-examination.

On display in the Historic House Museum’s Exhibition Gallery through June 30, 2024, and included with all admission types.

Be sure to register a special talk at Boscobel by New-York Historical Society Fellow Allison Robinson on May 18 titled “Little Women: Gender and Race in Helen Bruce’s Miniature Worlds.”








Photos by Lori Adams, 2024.

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