Kassie and Irene high-five over assembling the display.

Barbie Is A Big Hit At Locust Valley Library

By Dagmar Fors Karppi

The Barbie doll exhibit at the Locust Valley Library is getting thousands of hits on Instagram, proving its popularity. It’s gratifying to Kassie Roth, who curated the showcase at the library, as an outreach of the Locust Valley Garden Club. There are 38 Barbies and three Kens on view. Among them are several multi-cultural Barbies.

When the Barbie movie came out in July, Kassie thought it would be a wonderful theme for the library display case. She reached out to garden club member Lucy DeVito who said she would lend her family’s Barbies to the exhibit. “They were my daughter, Danielle King’s, growing up. Each Christmas, I would add to the collection and all our relatives gave her Barbies as presents. I saved them all in the hopes of having a granddaughter, and now I have two: Chloe, 11 months (on April 1,) and Olivia, five-years-old (she’s a joy). Olivia currently owns them, and agreed to lend them for the exhibit. There were even a few still in their boxes.”


The display case filled with Barbies.
(Photos courtesy the Locust Valley Garden Club)

Lucy delivered 30 Barbies and their clothes, including shoes and messy hair to Kassie, who grew up in Trinidad and never played with them. She took on the job of getting them ready to show. “That’s the way with Barbies”, said Irene Duque, who searched thrift shops and found four Barbies to donate to the show. “As soon as they get the dolls the clothes come off. The real fun is dressing them themselves,” she said. Kassie added four dolls for the show, one in Indian dress.

For Kassie, who grew up on a 21-acre farm on the tropical island of Trinidad and never played with Barbies, this was a new experience. “I spent 30 hours washing them, steaming their clothes, getting knots out of their hair and styling it. Irene came and we spent another four hours getting them ready,” said Kassie. The time included researching the outfits on the Internet, to coordinate them on the dolls.

The first Barbie doll was introduced on March 9, 1959. She wore a black-and-white zebra striped swimsuit and a ponytail: and was available as either a blonde or brunette. Today, of the 300,000 first produced, an original can fetch in the five figures.

If you have ever tried to make a Barbie outfit yourself, you quickly realize you are working in miniature. The doll is the perfect size for small hands. Her tiny waist and generous chest are perfect to give shape to tiny clothes. It’s her tiny feet that are the challenge. Kassie considered ways to make them stand, including using hot glue on them. To show the dolls to their best advantage, the club bought plastic stands that allow the clothed dolls to stand up.

After Kassie and Irene set up the show, Irene had to go back to pick up her coat. Irene said, “Kassie, the display is a big hit! I just went to pick up my coat and you should see how the children loved it! You had a great idea (as usual).”

New Locust Valley Library Director Nadine Bucculli put the Barbie exhibit on Instagram and it has already gotten over a thousand hits. She invited people to add their photos with their Barbies and it’s been very successful. Check out Locust Valley Library on Instagram.

Serendipitously, Michael Vinas, LVL program director has scheduled to show the Barbie movie on May 9.

The Locust Valley Garden Club meets the third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. for a program and buffet lunch for a donation of $15. The next program is How to Care for Houseplants.

For information contact President Dean Yoder at: [email protected].

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