Wyo4News staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]
December 01, 2023 — Do you like toys, baubles, or miniatures? The Community Fine Arts Center in Rock Springs has a new display of miniature tea sets and items from the collection of Green River resident Hilarie Bramwell. Hilarie has been collecting them since she was a young child and received the solid blue tea set. She loved the amazing attention to detail and all the “tiny little pieces.” The collection has grown as her family has gifted her the others throughout the years. They are much smaller than the traditional dolls and children’s tea sets. They are however perfect for dollhouses.
In the 16th Century wealthy members of society began collecting Dockenhaus or “Baby houses” as they were called. These tiny houses and furniture were meant to display wealth. Sometimes they replicated the owner’s home or just a beautiful house. The first dollhouse tea sets were not made for children but for adults. In Western Europe tea became popular and the first tiny tea sets were made to grace the tables and dining rooms of beautiful dollhouses.
The owners had them custom made, and they were very spendy. They were created from silver, fine porcelain, brass, clay, as well as wood. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that industrialization and mass production methods made them more affordable, and they became children’s toys.
The Community Fine Arts Center also displays the majority of the art collection which was started by the Rock Springs High School students in the fall of 1939. It hung in the school until the center was opened in 1966 for the public to enjoy the hundreds of pieces of art collected over the years.
“Sweetwater County School District #1 along with the city of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County Library System have a wonderful, longstanding collaboration,” said Community Fine Arts Center director Debora Soulé, “By working together the community has an impressive treasure of art for its citizens and visitors alike.”
The public is invited to see the tea set collection through the end of January as well as the GROUNDED exhibit of 15 indigenous artists through the end of December. Located at 400 C Street in Rock Springs. The Community Fine Arts Center is a department of the Sweetwater County Library System. Hours at the center are Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.