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Grant number like: PG-51503-12

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Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI 48824-3407)
Lynne Swanson (Project Director: May 2011 to April 2016)

Preservation Assistance Grants
Preservation and Access

$3,500 (approved)
$3,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Purchase of Storage Furniture to Preserve Ethnographic Collections at the Michigan State University Museum

The purchase of a storage cabinet for the rehousing of the Michigan State University Museum's international collection of ethnographic dolls, puppets, and marionettes. Highlights of the collection include wood and fabric puppets from China, Vietnam, and Indonesia; string marionettes from India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Nepal; shadow puppets from Cambodia and Bali; handmade dolls from Africa; and costume dolls dressed in traditional clothing from Europe and South and Central America. The museum uses the collection in programming and teaching to examine traditions of play and costume that are rapidly changing.

The focus of this project for the Michigan State University Museum is the Doris Neilson doll collection consisting of 160 dolls, puppets, marionettes and doll-related items made by indigenous peoples from many cultures.This doll collection is incredibly comprehensive and presents dolls and puppets from many different cultures throughout the world. It is important to preserve this collection as it represents past and current entertainment traditions, and also documents traditional costumes from many cultures, especially as some of these customs and manners of dress are changing and becoming more homogenous over time. These collections are used for research, education, and exhibition projects. With the proposed Preservation Assistance Grant, the MSU Museum will purchase a museum-quality storage cabinet and archival material to house the Doris Neilson doll collection. The funds will also enable us to hire a student intern for six months to assist with the rehousing project.