Detail of Winnie-the-Pooh. Image ID: 1628607
The New York Public Library is the proud home of the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh, the actual toy teddy bear that once belonged to Christopher Robin Milne, son of A. A. Milne, and the basis for the character Christopher Robin in the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
Winnie and his friends Tigger, Eyore, Kanga, and Piglet (also former well-loved toys of Christopher Robin Milne) have resided at the New York Public Library since 1987. We have an important job in taking care of Winnie and friends; these iconic stuffed animals are visited by thousands of children and their parents every year, and we want to ensure that they are safe and well tended so that many more generations of children can see the REAL toys that inspired their favorite stories.
Our first and most important strategy for preserving the stuffed animals is to monitor, record, and control the environment in which they are stored and exhibited -- this includes temperature, relative humidity, and light levels. High temperatures and humidity levels can encourage pests or mold growth, and excessive light exposure can cause fading and degradation of the fabric. We aim for stable and moderate temperature and relative humidity levels, and we try to minimize the total amount of light to which the objects are exposed.
The stuffed animals received a thorough examination and treatment by a professional object conservator several years ago, and they received custom-designed armatures or mounts intended the minimize the physical stress placed upon them while on display. They are routinely inspected by NYPL's own conservation staff
. The objects are kept in a secure case while on exhibit, and are stored in acid-free boxes and tissue in secure storage areas when not on exhibit. They are carefully handled only by conservation staff when it is necessary to move them, which we do as infrequently as possible due to their fragility.
Piglet, Kanga, Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger. Image ID: 1628602
You can currently find Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends on display in the exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter, which has recently been extended to September 7, 2014 due to popular demand.