Doll, Barbie, Miss Astronaut

Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This Barbie doll is dressed in the Miss Astronaut silver spacesuit created by Mattel in 1965.

Invented by Mattel Toys co-founder Ruth Handler in 1958, Barbie dolls were conceived as a toy that would allow children to play with a doll of an adult woman, not a baby or child/companion. As such, Barbie dolls allowed their owners to act out the life of a "single career girl." In the history of this immensely-popular and iconic toy, the Barbie doll has taken on several aviation- and space-themed jobs, including several versions of Barbie as a stewardess, astronaut, and pilot. Ironically, Barbie's role as "Miss Astronaut" with her Project Mercury-style silver spacesuit, came years before women became a part of NASA's astronaut corps in 1978.

Although three different Barbie dolls have been issued dressed in space-themed outfits, none of them offer realistic depictions of women’s participation in human spaceflight.

This doll and costume was donated to the Museum by Mattel in 1995.