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The International Dolls Museum is a large collection of dolls in Delhi, India. It was set up by K. Shankar Pillai, a political cartoonist. Housed in the Children’s Book Trust building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, accessed through a separate entrance, a winding staircase, leading up to a foyer. The museum has a floor area of 5,184.5 sq ft.
K. Shankar Pillai (1902–1989), noted cartoonist, set up Children’s Book Trust, a pioneering work in the field of children’s literature in India, in 1957. Later, a gift of a doll from a Hungarian diplomat gave Shankar the idea of collecting dolls from countries he visited. He often held exhibitions for poor children, and at one exhibition in Delhi, among the hundreds of visitors were the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accompanied by his daughter Indira Gandhi. Indira was inspired and together with Shankar set up an international museum for dolls, eventually materializing one November 30, in 1965.
The principal collection consists of gifts from Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and many subsequent Prime Ministers, including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Also several embassies and diplomatic missions in Delhi gifted dolls to the museum. Visiting dignitaries like Madame Tito, Queen Frederika of Greece, the Queen of Thailand, the sister of Shah of Iran, the wives of Presidents of Mexico and Indonesia and many others gifted dolls representing their respective nations.
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