Moving from Hundred Acre Wood to the big city might get an "Oh bother" from Winnie-the-Pooh, but the original Pooh bear and his pals —Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet and Tigger — are back where they belong after a year of conservation work, including neck alignments, clavicle repairs and bottom fluffing.
In the 1920s, author A.A. Milne gave the "stuffed with fluff" dolls to his son, the real-life Christopher Robin, and the stuffed animals became the inspiration for Milne's iconic Winnie-the-Pooh books.
In the 1980s, Milne's publisher gave the dolls to the New York Public Library where they have been on permanent display since, most recently in the Children’s Center at the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, NYPL said.
The dolls were evaluated in 2015 and —being nearly 100 years old — required a bit of a makeover.
“The New York Public Library takes the long-term preservation of these beloved dolls very seriously,” said Michael Inman, the library’s curator of rare books, the division in which the dolls live. “Being ever mindful of their care and condition, and given recent advances in textile conservation techniques, we decided that the time was right to undertake restorative work on these treasures. As a result of the treatments they have received, the dolls have been not only cleaned, repaired, and stabilized—thereby ensuring their continued survival—but also returned to a state that is, in many ways, closer to how they appeared when they were in the possession of the Milne family.”
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Eeyore predictably, needed the most work, the NYPL said.
“We could not be happier that Winnie and friends are restored and back where they belong – on display to inspire and charm the millions of people who visit our 42nd Street Library,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “We take pride in being great stewards of our research collection, ensuring that our treasures will be accessible to the public now for generations to come. The project to conserve these dolls highlights those efforts. We encourage everyone to come visit and welcome Winnie back.”
Winnie’s return is just in time for his 95th birthday – Christopher Robin received the Harrods teddy bear on Aug. 21, 1921. To celebrate that milestone and his return, kids are invited to make birthday cards for Winnie over the next month in the Children’s Center, or send a card online at nypl.org/happybirthdaywinnie.