About the Museum
Since the beginning of civilization, man has modeled the human figure in effigy. Every doll in history has told a story – a story of tradition, of religious worship, of styles and trends. By learning more about how and why dolls were created in the past, we can learn more about the culture of the dollmaker. In the collection of Mrs. Theo Redwood Blank, there is much to be learned about doll-making, as well as about history and culture.
The Schissler Miniature Furniture Collection
The Schissler Miniature Furniture collection consists of 23 pieces of antique miniature furniture dating back to the 1800s. Since the Middle Ages, the noblemen of Europe had collected and displayed precious small objects, including furniture. These prized objects would became the basis for the earliest museums. Before the 17th century Dutch royalty demanded the finest miniatures for their personal treasures. Their influence spread to England and then to the colonies. In America, artisans produced exquisite examples, both as salesmen’s samples and for personal pleasure.
In this antique miniature furniture we see prime examples of unique masterpieces which are revealing portraits of life in the past. These works provide excellent social commentary through attention to style, detail, quality and form.
Schissler Victorian Bed Chamber
Bedrooms in Victorian times were considered very private and were never viewed by visitors. Unlike earlier bedrooms, Victorian bed chambers were used for reading, sewing and relaxing, as well as for sleeping. Often, chairs, tables and settees would be snugly arranged around a fireplace. There were no closets. Instead clothes were stored in bureaus, or tall cabinets with doors, called wardrobes.
Beds were large and fancy. They were made of elaborately carved wood or curved brass and iron.
Mattresses were stuffed with goose feathers, straw, or horsehair. A popular Victorian bed was the four-poster, named for the tall posts that rose toward the ceiling from each corner of the bed. Sometimes the tops of the posts were connected by a wooden frame, cover-ed with fabric, making a canopy. For added warmth and privacy, curtains were hung from the frame.
These homes did not have running water or bathrooms, but every bedroom had a washstand, which usually stood waist-high and had two shelves. The top shelf held a basin and pitcher, for bathing. The lower shelf held the commode set,which included a soap dish, toothbrush, cup and shaving mug. Each bedroom also had a chamber pot for nighttime emergencies. It was hidden in a chair or stool, or under the bed.
The Schissler Victorian Bed Chamber also includes:
French walnut. Made in New Orleans about 1825 for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pierre Reynaud. The Reynauds moved to Houston and Mr. Reynaud became the secretary for the first Houston Chamber of Commerce.
VICTORIAN LADIES CHAIR
Needlepointed seat and back from 1880. From the home of John H. Reagan, Jr. Mr. Reagan, Sr. was the Postmaster General of the Confederacy.
ROUND TILT-TOP TABLE
Made of walnut wood from 1850.
Made of oak in 1880. Has an upholstered lift top which conceals the chamber pot. Could be used as a step stool to climb into the high beds.
CANDLE STAND (HOLDING WASH BASIN)
Made of walnut circa 1850.
WASH BASIN AND PITCHER
Hand painted porcelain made in England circa 1890.
PAIR OF MANTLE VASES
Hand painted porcelain from France. Vases such as these were shaped specifically to fit on a mantle.
STAFFORDSHIRE SPILL HOLDERS
These ornaments were made to adorn the mantle and hold small twists of paper used to light candles, pipes, etc. It was made in England circa 1825.