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Elaborate Dollhouses Capture 300 Years of British Domestic Life

They're stars of a marvelous new exhibit in Washington, D.C.

Before the splashy plastic Barbie dreamhouses and $419 Playmobil mansions mass-produced today, there were meticulously handmade dollhouses that offer a much more realistic, detailed representation of domestic life. For stellar proof, you can now head to Washington, D.C.'s National Building Museum, the exclusive U.S. venue for the marvelous new exhibit, Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse.

Hailing from the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London, the 12 historical dollhouses presented are amazing records of British residential architecture and home decor over the last 300 years, showcasing everything from a stately Georgian townhouse to a '30s modernist country villa to a '60s high rise—all delicately conserved and restored for the exhibit.

Special to the show at the National Building Museum is "Dream House," an installation of mini interiors created by artists from around the U.S. Using a 15-inch square wooden boxes, each artist crafted a 3D room inspired by any time period (including the future!) Below, a peek inside a few dollhouses featured in the show, along with the year(s) of production:

Tate Baby House (1760)

Whiteladies House (1935)

Hopkinson House (late 1980s to late 1990s)

Jenny's Home (1960s)

And a look at a few others:

Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse is on show at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. until January 22, 2017.