As with most cultures, dolls were created to keep children calm and entertained. Dolls for Seminole children consisted of palmetto fibers and cloth pieces. The doll usually reflected the fashions of the era. They were made from the scraps from making clothes – a simple way to use up remainders. During the tourist era, these dolls became another easily sold commodity. Depending on the availability of materials and the preferences of the maker they ranged in style and size and complexity of patchwork designs. Dolls remain a popular craft items, sold in shops and at fairs.
What is particularly interesting about the dolls is they show all the changes in Seminole clothing styles – from calico and applique to complex, multi-tiered patchwork. While the museum collection can show beautiful patchwork pieces admired for their skill and detail, dolls and pictures provide context by showing the ensemble with details like how many necklaces were worn and which hairstyles were popular with these particular dresses.
In my opinion, other areas of Seminole craft and art like basketry, dolls, and beadwork are not as revered as much as patchwork clothing. These items were created for tourism or other purposes while the art of sewing has been used to dress the Seminole people and reflect personal style to the public.