Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle Dollhouse

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Silent film star Colleen Moore was always fascinated by dolls and doll houses. She owned several elaborate doll houses as a child, but later in life her father, Charles Morrison, suggested that she should pursue her passion for miniatures and doll houses by creating the “doll house” of her dreams. Her position as one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood gave her the resources to produce a miniature home of fantastic proportions. Beginning in 1928, Moore enlisted the help of many talented professionals to help her realize her vision.

Horace Jackson, an architect and set designer who worked for First National Studios, created the floor plan and layout of the castle with the basic idea that “the architecture must have no sense of reality. We must invent a structure that is everybody’s conception of an enchanted castle.”

Moore also enlisted the help of art director and interior designer Harold Grieve. Grieve had designed the interiors for Moore’s actual mansion, so he was a natural to create the interiors of her fantasy castle.
By 1935, approximately 100 people worked on the Fairy Castle. The price tag for this 8’7″ x 8’2″ x 7’7″ foot palace, containing more than 1,500 miniatures, was nearly $500,000.

The Fairy Castle has delighted generations with its tiny treasures and imaginative presentation, representing the contributions of celebrities, artisans and craftspeople around the world. These include a painting by Walt Disney himself; the tiniest bible ever to be written, dating back to 1840; and ancient statues more than 2,000 years old.

Today the “doll house” has been renamed the “Fairy Castle” and is on permanent display at the Museum of Science and Industry.

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