Kids get close look at Russian Babushka Dolls

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - Kids at Spring Street Academy have participated in their own version of the Sochi Winter Olympics this week.

Part of the lead-up to the winter games in Russia was learning about Russian Babushka Dolls from collector Nancy Ripley, who is also an Educational Assistant at Spring Street Academy.

"The students love them," said Ripley. "They're asking a lot of questions."

Ripley first saw the dolls in 1974.

"The first time I ever saw one was in a store window on the Waterfront in Halifax," she said. "I saw a set and liked the craftsmanship. I liked the way they fit inside each other."

She bought her first set of the dolls in 1978 out of a Regal Catalogue, "Then I heard about e-Bay, and that's where I buy them now."

She brought her entire collection to Spring Street.

"My grandson set them up here and he says I have 36 sets."

She says the way the dolls fit inside each other reminds her of her family.

"I come from a large family. My mother had 15 children, so it kind of reminds me of that," she said. "I looked after the younger kids in my family and my older sisters looked after me."

Ripley's mom is 93-years-old and lives in Amherst.

"She lives in her own apartment at Centennial Villa. She gets out about three times a week."

Many of Ripley's dolls were made in Russia.

"The Russian Dolls that have been made in Russia all have a number on the bottom and a signature," she said. "They're more detailed. My favourite set that I have is The Beatles. They were made in Russia."

Ripley says the cost of shipping is often more than the dolls themselves.

"Lots of times dolls will cost about $28, and then you have pay $40 for shipping."

With the Sochi Winter Olympics kicking off, Ripley says the price of her collection has gone up.

"The sets I ordered two weeks ago have already gone up by $2, and I'm thinking they'll go up more now that the Olympics are here."

Organizations: Street Academy, The Beatles

Geographic location: Russia, AMHERST, Sochi Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Theo
    February 07, 2014 - 08:44

    They are actually called Matryoshka dolls.