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DECC to host Barbie exhibition

“If you have been a Barbie fan at any point in your life, this exhibit is for you. Plus, I bet you will walk away with a new appreciation for the positive impacts Barbie has had on pop culture.” -- Dan Hartman, DECC Executive Director

This August, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) is thrilled to present: Barbie®: A Cultural Icon. This museum-quality exhibition is a collaboration with Illusion Projects and Mattel, Inc., a leading global toy and family entertainment company and owner of one of the most iconic brand portfolios in the world.

The major exhibition first debuted in 2021, welcoming thousands of visitors in both Phoenix and Las Vegas. Barbie®: A Cultural Icon marks its exclusive Minnesota engagement at the DECC celebrating Barbie’s 65th anniversary year. 
On view from August 6 – September 22, 2024, the exhibition charts the 65-year history of Barbie and the doll’s global impact on fashion and popular culture through an expansive display, including: 

. More than 300 vintage artifacts 

. Life-size Barbie Ultravette™, a mirror-pink Corvette available for guest interaction and photo opportunities 

. Life-size Barbie boxes, available for guest interaction and photo opportunities 

. Life-size fashion designs 

. Advertisements and other ephemera 

· Exclusive video interviews with Barbie doll designers and narrative sections that highlight the style trends, careers, and identities that Barbie has embodied and popularized over the decades 

“We are so pleased to have been chosen for this high-quality Barbie exhibition,” said Daniel Hartman, Executive Director, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. “If you have been a Barbie fan at any point in your life, this exhibit is for you. Plus, I bet you will walk away with a new appreciation for the positive impacts Barbie has had on pop culture.”

Inspired by the brand’s influence on culture, visitors to the exhibition will trace Barbie’s evolution from a toy to a global icon across six distinct sections. The opening section relays the Barbie origin story and presents all 22 original ensemble outfits, while subsequent areas consider the influence of the Space Age; the creation of Christie, the first Black doll; the arrival of Ken®; and the creation of the Barbie DreamHouse™. 

Visitors will also see Barbie in the iconic fashions:

 . The 1970s, including Groovy Style, beachwear, and disco-themed designs 

. The 1980s and 1990s present a selection of diverse Barbie dolls representing a range of ethnicities, body types, and careers, including a feature on the first Black Barbie

. The 2000s, spotlighting the continued diversification of characters within the Barbie universe and connecting them to contemporary fashion trends, perspectives, and identities

The exhibition, drawn from the private collection of David Porcello and Mattel, also features more than 50 historical objects and five unique photo opportunities, including a life-size Barbie Mirror-Pink Corvette with which visitors can interact.

The exhibit will also showcase the Barbie Signature 65th Blue Sapphire Anniversary Fashion Dolls, paying homage to the iconic history and legacy of Barbie. 

The exhibition at the DECC will be augmented with related special events and a selection of official merchandise on sale. For updates and information, visit madmuseum.org and subscribe to the Museum’s monthly newsletter. – DECC press release

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