Out of the Museum

Hina dolls on display this month at Lincoln Area Archives Museum

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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted


This week’s question about the mystery item pictured here is, “Did Japan produce articulated dolls in the 1800s like Germany, France and the United States? If you know, please send answers to Answers will appear in next week’s newspaper.

Last week’s mystery item

Claire Shigley knew the connection between last week’s mystery dolls and a religious festival. The dolls in the museum exhibit were used in the Girls Day Festival, a Japanese religious festival.

And Joan Connor gave specifics about the Japanese tradition.

The doll festival (Girls Day) on March 3 celebrates the health and development of young girls, Connor explained.

“On March 3rd, the doll festival (Girls Day)  that celebrates the health and development of young girls will be performed. The dolls are placed on a platform named hina dan. It is covered by a red dankake with a red carpet with rainbow stripes at the bottom,” Connor said.  “The dolls are arranged in order with the Emperor and Empress at the top. Each platform has specific dolls on it. There is a good explanation on Wikipedia. The dolls are beautifully made and the whole arrangement is truly lovely. It is customary to eat special foods also.”

The Girls Day Festival or Hina Matsuri began in the Heian period (749-1185) and became a traditional custom for dolls to be dressed in the elaborate fashion of the court, according to Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents. Parents and grandparents add dolls over the years to the set and the mother eventually passes her set down.

The museum has Japanese Hina dolls displayed through March. Museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 640 5th St.

Corrections to last week’s Out of the Museum

Last week’s had a few errors. The land for the Woman’s Club was not bought by the club, as stated, but given to the club through the generosity of Walter Jansen.

There was an inconsistency of the spelling of Gray.  All through the article, Gray should have been used.

Mary Hotckiss paid taxes in 1923, according to the assessment records. Currently, the records are being reexamined to determine for which block and lot her taxes are listed.

Information attributed to Elaine Hunt Van Camp was actually from another Native Daughters of the Golden West, Helen Maclaren. 

- Carol Feineman