"Looking at different Barbie dolls through the years was like looking at Life magazine," Dickson says. "The dolls told the story of the moment."
That was certainly the case for "Astronaut" Barbie, released in 1965, and "Olympic Downhill Skier" Barbie, who debuted a decade later -- just before Dorothy Hamill took the gold in women's figure skating in the 1976 Winter Olympics. And almost 15 years after that, as children's rights become an international cause, Barbie made yet another ambitious move, becoming a UNICEF Ambassador.
NEXT: Breaking the plastic ceiling