NORFOLK, Va. — Inside the doll exhibit at Old Dominion University’s Barry Art Museum, you’ll find an impressive mix of decades-old charm and intricate design.
But there’s one doll that commands your attention.
“This is an extremely rare piece,” said Charlotte Potter Kasic, Executive Director of the Barry Art Museum at ODU.
Potter Kasic gave 13News Now an up-close look at the first-release Barbie, one of the rarest versions of Mattel’s iconic doll in the world.
“One family acquired it, and we even have a video of the little girl opening it on Christmas Day,” said Potter Kasic. “So, we know the provenance of the piece from the beginning, and we have every single accessory down to the tiny compact.”
The museum has two #1 Barbies, but the near-mint condition of the wedding dress-wearing version on display is truly one of a kind.
It recently sold at auction for $42,000, according to Potter Kasic.
The new addition to the exhibit was timed well with the release of the new Greta Gerwig Barbie movie, but the doll also serves as an important reminder of how far Barbie’s message has come.
You won’t find a vacuum, or even a kitchen, inside the original Barbie dream house, also on display at the museum.
That’s because Barbie, the first adult-like doll for children to play with, is an independent, working woman who has enabled young girls to become anything they want.
The Barry is now #1 Barbie’s permanent home, too, cementing her legacy in Norfolk, more than 60 years after she first hit the shelves.
The Barry Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free.