Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Last week there was a Shirley Temple Memorabilia Exhibit at a local museum. I am a HUGE Shirley Temple afficionado. I believe I've seen all her movies. If I had to name a favorite, it would have to be The Little Princess.

I attended the exhibit on Friday last (May 1st). It opened on the day before (Thursday) and would close on Sunday. I didn't want to be at this museum on the weekend because it is the National Museum of Play and would be overrun with kidlets. Friday seemed the best day.

I was totally overcome with emotion when I walked in to that display. It was as if my childhood swooped down on me.  I was just a little girl who had a blond, curly headed Shirley Temple doll, that wore a white with green flowers all over it, dress. I left this sweet doll outside on a table my Mom used to fold laundry on. It rained that night and my doll was ruined. Sad, sad, sad :(

This exhibit more than made up for that trauma. I enjoyed it immensely. There was a large screen TV with her movies playing constantly, there were many, many Shirley Temple dolls as well as some of her very own toys, even her favorite: a stuffed, furry monkey. The most spectacular (to me) show stoppers in the exhibit were the costumes that she wore in her movies.
From "Baby Take A Bow"

From "Stand Up And Cheer"

The fact that these costumes were made by anonymous studio seamstresses just for her role in a particular movie and that she herself saved them all these years is astonishing.

From "Our Little Girl" (one for Shirley and one for the doll)

Military Costume from "Wee Willie Winkie"

Pink PJ's Embroidered Bunnies from "Curley Top"


Riding Outfit and Red Velvet Coat from "Heidi"

Green Ball Gown from "Captain January"

Taken from the programme:  "Unprecedented that the biggest star of the 1930's preserved so much from her most significant years in the public eye...........virtually all costumes, letters, documents, photos and gifts as well as dolls and toys..............for nearly 80 years! Nearly 80 outfits"

The child sized, motorized, custom made car was given her as a gift from her good friend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson which she did, indeed, drive around the studio lot, was the ultimate of the exhibit.

She called him "Uncle Billy" and he called her "Darlin". He is considered by many to be the greatest tap dancer of the 20th century. He took her under his wing as a dancer. She said that "we held hands and I learned to dance from Bill by listening, not looking at his feet. It was kind of magic between us."

This next paragraph again is taken from the programme: "This is history. A celebration of a life that raised the hopes of a nation, made a generation laugh and smile and forget troubles and, who was, above all else, a symbol of purity and goodness that is still evoked today as an example of children."

I just like these shoes and crown and a set for dolly too


  1. Thanks for sharing your photos. What an amazing experience that was for you!

  2. How fascinating! It was such a different era, wasn't it?

  3. Adorable! Thanks for posting the photos so we can enjoy the display, too. :)