Long before Barbie, and even paper dolls, cornhusk dolls were a common colonial-era toy.
Invented by Native Americans, these dolls have been made and loved by children for centuries. They taught children to use all parts of a plant and not be wasteful. After European settlers arrived, Native Americans taught them how to plant and use corn. This included using cornhusks for making baskets, mats, and dolls! The creation of cornhusk dolls became a fixture for colonial children, and remained a tradition for generations.
These dolls were made more recently, during the Craft Revival period of the 20th Century, but this demonstrates how long these dolls have been popular! You can see them on display this weekend as part of the Salem Museum’s Hands-On History Saturday program.
This month, visit the Museum to see “Toys of Christmas Past.” On Saturdays, visitors can pull on a glove and touch a piece of history with their own hand. Join us next week, Dec. 20-23, for Hands-On History Week, where visitors can interact with historic toys leading up to Christmas. In December, Hands-On History is sponsored by the Jim and Caroline Wallace. Salem Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and located at 801 E. Main St.