Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

July 14, 2006

Susan Medler, communications director
PH 816.268.8245 FAX 816.269.8299

Dolls from around the World Showcased in Special Exhibition:
A Child in the White House - Caroline Kennedy's Dolls

More than 100 dolls and puppets from 30 countries will be on display at Truman Presidential Museum & Library November 18, 2006 through March 15, 2007

INDEPENDENCE, MO-On November 18, 2006, the Truman Presidential Museum & Library will open a special exhibition entitled A Child in the White House: Caroline Kennedy's Dolls. The exhibition will showcase more than 70 dolls and puppets from 30 countries given to Caroline Kennedy beginning in 1961 when her family entered the White House through 1963 when tragedy ended their brief residency. The exhibition will run through March 15, 2007.

Foreign dignitaries and first ladies-including Italy's Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani, the Ivory Coast's President Houphouet-Boigny, India's Indira Gandhi, Monaco's Princess Grace, and France's Madame de Gaulle-presented dolls to young Caroline Kennedy as state gifts. Other dolls in the collection were gifts from foreign citizens who did not hold official government positions. The collection is on loan from the John F. Kennedy Library, which originally organized the exhibition in November 2003.

"This collection speaks to the world's enchantment with the young Kennedy family," said Michael Devine, director of the Truman Presidential Museum & Library. "President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy were the first presidential couple to raise young children in the White House since President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), and the public was charmed by the brilliant young couple and their vivacious children. People from all over the globe sent gifts to Caroline, and we're grateful for the opportunity to share the collection with the public."

Born in 1957, Caroline Kennedy was a 3 year old when her father took the oath of office as President of the United States on January 20, 1961. (Her brother, John, was two months old at the time.) She attended kindergarten at the White House, in classes organized by her mother, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Some of the most recognizable images of the Kennedy White House include photographs of the Kennedy children in the Oval Office and with their parents.

"This was quite an undertaking from a conservation perspective," said Frank Rigg, of the John F. Kennedy Library. "Many of the dolls are handcrafted and therefore both beautiful and delicate. Restoration efforts have returned each doll to its original appearance and will serve to preserve all the dolls for years to come."

Exhibit Highlights

The collection of state gifts includes:

  • A Peruvian mother-and-child and Peruvian doll in formal costume from the First Lady of Peru, Senora de Prado, wife of President Manuel Prado
  • Paper- and clay-mache dolls depicting Indian women dressed in brightly colored saris from India's Indira Gandhi
    A Monegasque palace guard from Princess Grace of Monaco
  • An African doll in a colorful print costume with matching turban from Ivory Coast President Houphouet-Boigny
  • Eighteen dolls representing Mexico's diverse regions from Mexican First Lady Ave Lopez Mateos
  • An Italian Lenci doll in traditional costume from Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani
  • Two dolls in traditional French costumes and a playhouse from Madame Charles de Gaulle
  • A Norwegian boy and girl in festive attire from Norwegian Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen
  • An Indonesian doll from President Sukarno of Indonesia

The collection also includes dolls and puppets from Santo Domingo, Uruguay, Guatemala, Colombia, Austria, Holland, Wales, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, Jordan, Korea, Canada, Greece, and Puerto Rico.

Admission, Hours & General Information

A Child in the White House - Caroline Kennedy's Dolls may be viewed in the Museum with the price of regular admission, which is free for children 5 and under, $3 for youths 6-18, $7 for adults, and $5 for senior adults 62 and older. To schedule group tours of this and the permanent exhibits of the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, please call 816.268.8221. For all other information, call 1-800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum will be closed Christmas and New Year's Day but open until 8 p.m. December 26 through 31. On December 2, 9, and 16, Santa will be in the beautifully decorated lobby for a photographic keepsake, so bring your cameras.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is located at 24 Highway and Delaware in historic Independence, twenty minutes from downtown Kansas City, Missouri. There is ample free parking, with numerous nearby attractions, boutiques and restaurants.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of eleven presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Since its dedication in 1957, the Truman Presidential Museum & Library has inspired millions of visitors. Step into a replica of Truman's Oval Office, test your Presidential mettle with interactive exhibits, and discover the powerful stories of an era that continues to shape our world today.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is supported, in part, by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the not-for-profit partner of the Truman Library. The Institute seeks to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history and culture, the process of governance, and the importance of public service, as exemplified by Harry S. Truman. To learn more about the Truman Presidential Museum & Library and the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, visit www.trumanlibrary.org.


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