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Barbie at 50


1959 Original Barbie

1959 Original Barbie


50th Birthday Celebration of Barbie

and the 10th Anniversary of the Museum of
Lifestyle & Fashion History

Barbie Doll Exhibit dates extended

NEW Exhibit Dates:  July 31, 2009 - April 1, 2010

New exhibition location at the Boynton Beach Mall



Delray Beach, Florida (Palm Beach County, Florida):  March 2009 will mark the 50th birthday of the world famous Barbie® Doll.  The public and Barbie Doll collectors have been invited to participate in an anthropological history exhibit organized by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History about the landmark doll by loaning their Barbie® Doll items.  The exhibition is entitled Barbie®: The Golden Anniversary.  


Due to popular demand and response about the Barbie Doll exhibit, the new extended exhibition dates are July 31, 2009 thru April 1, 2010.  Also, in order to meet the requests of people wanting to view the exhibit which resulted in the extended dates, the new location for the display of the vintage Barbie Dolls will be at a donated temporary location for the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History at the Boynton Beach Mall at 801 N. Congress Avenue, Boynton Beach, Florida.  More than 200 vintage Barbie Dolls, friends, family members and accessories from private collectors will be showcased in the exhibit.


And, it was almost ten years ago that the Barbie® Doll served as the inspiration for the non-profit Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History (MLFH) when the Museum’s Executive Director, Lori J. Durante, conceived, developed, organized and curated the anthropological exhibition about the Barbie® Doll in year 1999 in celebration of the dolls 40th anniversary and Woman’s History Month. The 1999 exhibit was displayed in Downtown Delray Beach, Florida and it was entitled 40 years of the Barbie Doll: In celebration of Women’s History Month.  That exhibit had a record breaking attendance of more than 20,000 visitors from around the world and it became one of the most memorable exhibitions in all of Palm Beach County, Florida.  Barbie Millicent Roberts was introduced to the market in year 1959 and was the toy creation of Ruth Handler who was the co-founder and co-owner of Mattel.  Through the years, the Barbie® Doll has represented various careers from being in the Navy and Army, to being President of the United States of America.


The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History will also be partnering with the Miami International University of Art & Design where design students will be creating clothes for dolls that will be displayed in the exhibit too.


Since 1999, the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History has hosted more than seventeen exhibitions including traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C.  The exhibit topics have included the history of lunch boxes, magazine covers as well as displays about hats, handbags and gloves. In year 2004, the MLFH was designated as the Best New Museum by the Broward-Times Newspaper.


From 2003-2005, the Museum was located in a rent-free 8,000 square feet facility in the former Pineapple Grove Shops Plaza located in the 300 Block of Pineapple Grove Way in the Main Street District of Downtown Delray Beach, Florida. However, that plaza was sold and then demolished along with the entire City block where it was located.  As a result, the Museum had to move.  Since that time, MLFH has been acquired properties for proposed permanent facilities.


Although without a present facility, MLFH stills offers and presents various programs such as the regular monthly Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach; the Children’s Mathematics Narrated Bus Tour of Historic Delray Beach; the annual Children & Parents Day Winter Wonderland; and the annual Swedish Enchantment event.  For the bus tours, the accolades have included Best Bets in Palm Beach County in 2006 & 2005 by the Gold Coast Edition of Guest Informant Magazine; and in 2006, the Museum's Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach were selected as Unique Travel Gem by AAA Travel Home & Away Magazine of Mid-America.  In May 2008 and June 2006, the Museum's Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach were selected as Best Tour of the Town by The Palm Beacher & Gold Coast Magazines.


In addition to year 2009 being the 50th birthday of the Barbie® Doll and the 10th anniversary of Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History, year 2009 also marks the 100th anniversary of Palm Beach County, Florida.  Therefore, some of the Museum’s confirmed events and programs for year 2009 will include recognition of the 100th birthday of Palm Beach County, Florida.


The Barbie® Call to the public is for any Barbie® Dolls from years 1959 to present along with Barbie® clothes, pets, cars, houses and Barbie friends such as Ken, Skipper and Midge.  This call is also for Barbie® Dolls representing different cultures, different countries and much more.  If a person would like for their Barbie® Dolls items to be considered for temporary display, they need to mail or e-mail their name, street mailing address, phone number and e-mail address to the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History at P.O. Box 6127, Delray Beach, Florida  33482 or e-mail  People should also include a brief description about the items that they wish to loan, how long they have owned their Barbie® items, and when and how they acquired the Barbie® items.   


The following is a brief list of some of the vintage dolls and accessories from private collectors that are confirmed to be displayed in the exhibit:


Original 1959 Barbie Doll (first Barbie Doll)

Bubble Hairdo 1964 Barbie Doll

1970s Malibu Barbie Dolls and accessories

1966 Stewardess Barbie Doll

Nascar Barbie

Space Camp Barbie

Miss America Barbie

Audrey Hepburn Barbie

Peruvian Barbie

Australian Barbie

Morocco Barbie

Peruvian Barbie

Arctic Barbie

Switzerland Barbie

Native American Barbie

Sign-language Barbie

Special Collection I Love Lucy Barbie

Special Collection I Fabulous 40s Barbie Doll

Special Collection Hollywood Movie Star Barbie

Special Collection Evening Star Princess

1970 Midge Doll

1970s Skipper Doll

1960s Ken Dolls


History of the Barbie Doll:

The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel), whose own daughter was called Barbara. Barbie was introduced to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The doll was intended to be a teenage fashion doll. There has been some controversy over Barbie's figure when it realized that if Barbie was a real person her measurements would be an impossible 36-18-38. The Ken doll was named after Ruth's son. Barbie first had bendable legs in 1965.


More facts about the Barbie Doll:

  • Barbie’s real name is Barbie Millicent Roberts
  • Barbie is from Willows, Wisconsin.  She attended Willows High School
  • Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, brought her vision of a three-dimensional doll to life with the introduction of Barbie in 1959
  • Barbie first appeared in the now-famous black-and-white striped swimsuit and signature ponytail
  • Barbie has four sisters: Skipper (1964), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1995)  
  • Barbie’s first pet was a horse named Dancer
  • The first Barbie doll sold for $3.00 (1959)
  • Barbie’s signature color is Barbie pink:  PMS 219
  • Barbie’s first boyfriend, Ken, debuted two years after Barbie in 1961
  • Ken was named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler
  • Ken and Barbie broke up on Valentine’s Day in 2004 after being together more than 43 years  
  • The best-selling Barbie doll ever was 1992 Totally Hair Barbie, with hair from the top of her head to her toes
  • Barbie has been outfitted by more than 70 famous couturiers
  • Barbie has had more than 108 inspirational careers

Barbie® is a registered trademark of the Mattel Corporation.  Barbie: The Golden Anniversary exhibit is being developed, organized and presented by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History and it is not a Mattel program.


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