Lisbon’s Doll Hospital | Culture | Showcase

Lisbon’s Doll Hospital | Culture | Showcase


This is a delicate procedure The patient has been brought in with multiple traumas But “doctor” Manuela Cutileiro has spent 30 years performing this kind of “surgery” Welcome to Lisbon’s doll hospital Considered the oldest of its kind in the world The hospital has been running in the same location by the same family since 1830s I’m the fifth generation It’s our mission to take care of all these girls here It all starts downstairs when patients are brought in for the screening process We assess what is wrong with the doll and make a file like an entry card for a hospital Afterwards, they are brought upstairs and, depending on the illness they are forwarded into a specific
ward we have the plastic surgery room and the room for multiple trauma care Here we have the names of the patients that are currently in treatment Two, four, six, eight, ten to twelve are here now One of the most common types of surgery we do is eye surgery I think kids find it very amusing to push their fingers into a doll’s eye That’s why we have a lot of boxes
full of eyes, in never ending colours, shapes and sizes The hospital also has an infinite number of drawers packed with limbs and other body parts A lot of time, especially with newer dolls, it’s more economic to replace a broken arm or a broken leg, than to restore it Doctor Cutileiro doesn’t keep track of how many surgeries are performed in the doll hospital on a daily basis But taking a look at how
full the room for discharged patients is its obvious things here can get quite busy This one came from all the way from Brazil She is waiting for the owners to come back to Portugal to take her home A lot of foreigners make their way to the
doll hospital because believe it or not they can’t find this service where they
live We have visitors of all ages, and from all
social classes Grown-ups, old people older than me –and children People bring antique dolls, from the 19th century, or religious images even older than some dolls Sitting on these shelves, are patients waiting for surgery They were made with paper machê in the 1930s or 1940s and it’s fun to read the news written on the paper they’re made of and get to know the places they’re from For example, this one is from Spain And sometimes a returning doll – I mean
patient — comes back for a second, or even a third treatment Each number on the dolls’
feet corresponds to a date when they’ve been hospitalized This doll has been treated here before The lady who took care of her died 30 years ago, I recognize her handwriting Now the doll has to be treated again She has cracksin her head, a common problem of aging Just like we have wrinkles they have cracks Cutileiro doesn’t remember when the hospital started using medical terminology for the toys She suspects it has something to do with the real hospital that used to stand in the very same place the doll hospital now is back in the 18th century You can see on the floo r this inscription
for the old hospital chapel Maybe that’s why people started to call us a hospital, as we brought dolls back to life The hospital has received a lot of donations during the past 200 years And has amassed a huge collection of about five-thousand toys We don’t like to call ourselves a museum We like to say we are a big playroom Because museums are full of valuable pieces And this is not our concept At this hospital, we welcome everyone, from the most humble to the most important doll And it’s likely, future generations will keep
this family-run business up and running for years to come One of my daughters works with me So for us it’s not a sacrifice, it’s our family
mission and we love every moment of it

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