The original Winnie the Pooh teddy bear and his friends are back in the NYC Library

The original Winnie the Pooh teddy bear and his friends are back in the NYC Library
Image credit: NYC Library

You probably know that Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a real teddy bear. The same goes for some of the characters. Now they are back in the NYC Library.

The NYC Library is the exclusive owner of the original Winnie the Pooh teddy bear along with Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Tiger. All of the stuffies are very old though so they were gone for renovation.

The process took about a year. During this time each of the stuffed animals was restored to its original form and preserved. It was done so the stuffies are preserved for the next generation.

Now they’re back on display against a map of the Hundred Acre Wood. It is that fuzzy space between make believe and Sussex, England, where author A. A. Milne lived with his family.

NYC Library received the toys as a donation back in 1987. It has maintained them over the years, but a full restoration was needed. But now, thanks to this latest round of treatment, they “resemble their original selves,” according to Evelyn Frangakis, assistant director of preservation for the Library—pretty good considering dear, old Pooh Bear will celebrate his 95th birthday later this month.

How Winnie the Pooh was saved

NYC Library has posted a few interesting details about the restoration process.

Winnie the Pooh got a nip/tuck during his recent trip. Some stuffing and stitches were pushed back in. His paws and snout were covered with a thin, protective mesh. And his butt was steamed and fluffed so it’ll look top-notch.

Piglet had his snout adjusted. Kanga had her head straightened and Tigger had his bottom fluffed.

Finally, Eeyore needed the most work. He is by far the biggest doll and also one of the oldest. A whopping 52 of his patches were removed. Some were cleaned, treated, and sewn back on. Others were replaced, and the rest were sent back to the Library for safekeeping.

All of the stuffed animals were vacuumed and put on new mounts so they can sit up and greet their hundreds of thousands of guests each year, many of whom leave happy fingerprints on the glass.

One caveat: Alterations made when the dolls were in the care of the Milne family were carefully evaluated and preserved, said Michael Inman, the Library’s caretaker of the Winnie-the-Pooh dolls.

“We take conservatorship of the dolls very, very seriously,” said Inman. “We work to ensure these things survive indefinitely.” And now Winnie the Pooh and his friends are ready to meet you in the NYC Libraby over in New York.