WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – She’s been an icon for decades, kept up hundreds of jobs and still managed to look good doing it. Now, she’s a star of the big screen. 

It’s Barbie of course!

Millions of people will head to theatres to see the new Barbie movie this weekend, but do you know where the doll came from.

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Ruth and Elliott Handler were two of the founders of the Mattel company. 

They created the doll in 1959 after seeing a popular comic strip in Europe. Barbie is named after their daughter, Barbara.

“They had noticed their daughter was playing with baby dolls and paper dolls and she was hitting the pre-teen years and they thought maybe they could make a doll for that age child.”

Becky Gerlak, Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum

Through the years she’s changed outfits and careers and added some friends along the way, but Barbie keeps evolving to be more relatable to everyone. 

“The Barbie keeps changing. They went from a very unrealistic body type to a very, very realistic upper body type now where people can relate more to them.”

Becky Gerlak, Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum

Several years after the Handlers created the Ken doll named after their son, Kenneth.

Now, Barbie is both a popular toy and a collector’s item passed down through generations.

“I don’t have children myself, but my sister does. She thought, okay, as soon as she was able we got her daughter Barbie, because we’re thinking, okay, we played with this kid. She’s going to like it.”

Becky Gerlak, Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum

The Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum has their own display, and also created one at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville.