UNL restores 95-year-old doll
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Morrill Hall is full of history. Among the items is a special Japanese doll from the 1920s, which is being restored and displayed from Friday until October.
Inside Morrill Hall, Miss Mie, a Japanese friendship doll, is getting a few touch ups before her 95th birthday.
Japanese religious tradition says dolls have spirits, so Masaru Aoki, a doll conservator for the Yoshitoku Doll Company, takes care of Miss Mie with a reverence.
“He treats her like his daughter and granddaughter,” an interpreter for Aoki said. “That’s how much he loved her.”
Aoki travelled from Japan to help restore and redress Miss Mie, who turns 95 in October. He has repaired her a total of three times.
“He doesn’t think the damage is that serious because people in Lincoln take good care of her,” the interpreter said.
In 1927, children in America and Japan exchanged dolls as a gesture of friendship and peace. Miss Mie was one of the 58 sent from Japan and was given to Morrill Hall in 1928.
“Its point, really its purpose, it to improve the relationships between the peoples of Japan and the United States,” said Dr. Susan Weller, director of the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall.
Miss Mie has cracks on her legs as well as near her ears and nose. Her skin absorbs water just like a human’s, so every step of the restoration process is meticulous.
“It is a very delicate porcelain,” Dr. Weller said. “If you think about applying drywall, it will take multiple coats and they will need to dry in between and cure and then you need to paint over it.”
Once the work is done, Aoki hopes Miss Mie will continue to be loved and cared for.
“For five more years, for 50 more years, 100 more years, please take good care of Miss Mie. She’ll keep living.”
The museum hopes these restorations allow them to send Miss Mie back to Japan for her 100th birthday.
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