Winnie-The-Pooh and Friends Return To The New York Public Library Fully Restored and Ready For Display Beginning August 3
The nearly 100-year-old dolls that inspired the iconic literary characters are back and better than ever after more than a year of conservation work
AUGUST 3, 2016: They’re “stuffed with fluff” and ready to inspire future generations.
The original Winnie-The-Pooh and friends dolls – treasures of The New York Public Library’s research collections – are back on display after over a year of important conservation work, including neck alignments, clavicle repairs, and bottom fluffing.
The five dolls, which were given to the real-life Christopher Robin in the 1920s, inspired the characters in author A.A. Milne’s iconic and beloved Winnie-The-Pooh books. The dolls were given to the Library by Milne’s publisher in the 1980s, and they have been on near permanent display since, most recently in the Children’s Center at the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Last year, after careful evaluation, it was determined that the nearly 100-year-old dolls needed repairs and restoration, so Winnie and friends were sent to textile conservator The Textile Conservation Workshop, with the project overseen by the Library’s preservation department. As of August 3, the completed dolls will be back on display in the Children’s Center to inspire future generations of kids and adults. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 9:30 a.m in the Children’s Center, followed by a celebration for kids that includes a special Winnie-related story time, Winnie-related craft, and tea party.
“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. hAs 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.”
The goal of the conservators was to stabilize the dolls, restoring them to the condition that they were in when they were in the possession of the Milne family inspiring the books.
Each doll was cleaned and received new mounts. Individual work on each doll included:
- Four worn areas were treated and protected with nylon Maline net (including two front paw pads, his left foot paw pad, and his snout)
- Several areas of lifting embroidery on the nose and left foot were stitched down with cotton thread.
- A protruding yarn from a previous repair under the right arm was fixed
- The plush on Pooh’s bottom was gently steamed and fluffed using, among other things, a microspatula
- Eeyore (who, predictably, needed the most work)
- A total of 52 patches were removed and replaced
- Patch wear at his clavicle was repaired
- He was encapsulated in net to protect his delicate plush
- Neck patches were removed and replaced
- Underarm holes were repaired and previous patches were replaced with custom-colored plush fabric
- The plush on the bottom of Kanga was fluffed
- Kanga’s plush and inner ears we encapsulated in nylon net
- Piglet’s snout was humidified and secured in its proper position
- A small hole at Piglet’s torso received a patch of fine silk fabric, with a color that mimicked his velveteen.
- His feet were encapsulated in silk crepeline to protect worn areas.
- The sage green silk at his head was also covered in silk crepeline.
- The plush on the bottom of Tigger was fluffed using humidity and mechanical action
- Tigger’s plush was encapsulated in nylon Maline net (his ears were left uncovered because they are not prone to the same stress, and because they are exceptionally fluffy and the net would be visually obtrusive).
Winnie’s return is just in time for his 95th birthday – Christopher Robin received the Harrods teddy bear on August 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.
“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.”
Angela Montefinise | firstname.lastname@example.org
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