Original Winnie the Pooh toys return to the New York Public Library
The original stuffed toys which inspired A.A Milne's beloved Winnie the Pooh stories have returned to their home in the New York Public Library.
The toys were originally owned by the author's son Christopher Robin in the 1920s, and he played with them in the Five Hundred Acre Wood, near the family's home at Cotchford Farm.
The toys – known as The Pooh Five – originally made the journey across the Atlantic in 1947 for a promotional tour of America, and were officially gifted to the New York Public Library by Milne's publisher in the 1980s.
Having remained on display almost ever since, it was eventually decided that the five furry friends needed a little TLC. At almost 100 years old, the toys required some expert restoration by a team of textile conservators, to preserve them for future generations.
"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."
Each of the toys was cleaned and repaired, during a painstaking year-long process.
Not only did Winnie have his his nose and paws carefully restitched, but according to reports "his bottom was gently steamed and fluffed using a microspatula". The lucky devil.
Poor old threadbare Eeyore had a total of 52 patches removed and replaced; Kanga had holes in her underarms repaired; Piglet’s snout was humidified and secured in its proper position; and Tigger’s plush was encapsulated in nylon Maline net.
"The New York Public Library takes the long-term preservation of these beloved dolls very seriously,” added Michael Inman, the library’s curator of rare books. "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."
The historic toys will now be returned to the Children’s Center at the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, with a special 'Welcome Home Ceremony' – just in time to celebrate the bear's 95th birthday on August 21, when he was originally bought as a present for Christopher Robin from Harrods in 1921.
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