Original Stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh Doll Restored by New York Public Library

All of the beloved characters from your childhood are back.

Winnie-the-Pooh and company post-conservation. Courtesy New York Public Library’s Digital Imaging Unit.

As if story-time couldn’t get any better, the New York Public Library has just placed the original Winnie-the-Pooh dolls back on view, after nearly a year of conservation.

The stuffed animals, which the library has owned since 1987, underwent a surprisingly-extensive round of refurbishment, including the insertion of interior metal supports for posture, application of nylon Maline net over scruffy areas, and even the humidification and reattachment of Piglet’s snout.

It has been an especially long journey for Pooh himself, who turns 95 this year. Long before settling into his digs at the NYPL, the toy was purchased by English author A.A. Milne in 1921 from Harrod’s as a gift for his son, the young Christopher Robin, who gave the teddy bear his eponymous name.

Eeyore, before and after. Courtesy New York Public Library’s Digital Imaging Unit.

Eeyore, before and after. Courtesy New York Public Library’s Digital Imaging Unit.

The rest of Pooh’s crew soon followed, including, of course, Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet, and Tigger—with both Christopher Robin and his growing toy collection immortalized in Milne’s beloved children’s book series.

“A great deal of love and care was bestowed on the dolls, and we’ve always been very mindful of their condition and wanting to make sure they survive indefinitely,” Michael Inman, curator of the Rare Book Division which cares for the dolls, told Hyperallergic.

 

Kanga, before and after. Courtesy New York Public Library’s Digital Imaging Unit.

Kanga, before and after. Courtesy New York Public Library’s Digital Imaging Unit.

The library has been careful to keep the dolls’ appearances as close as possible to how they looked after leaving the Milne family, in the aim of remaining true to their history. (This might be why Eeyore—who required the most TLC in his facelift, with 52 patch replacements—continues to look as exhausted as ever.)

Winnie-the-Pooh and friends will remain on view indefinitely in the Children’s Center on the ground floor of the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building, the main branch of the NYPL, where you can go wish them a speedy recovery, or even post a card for their upcoming birthdays in a yellow mailbox beside the display case.


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