Teddy bears have been around for over 100 years. It is reasonable to assume, in all that time, some of them have been well loved and it is time for them to retire. Since there is no old-folks home for teddy bears they are given to collectors, or a museum to sit comfortably and be admired.
Greenfield Village and the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the museums where a teddy bear may live his life in peace. This museum has hundreds of items on exhibit. There are several antique exhibits that include some of the first teddy bears ever made. Be sure and see all of the exhibits, as I recall, the bears are in more than one place.
The Teddy Bear Museum in Naples, Florida, has over 4,000 bears on exhibit. Nearly 40,000 visitors from around the world visit the museum yearly. This ‘dream home for teddy bears’ has many displays, including, antique and limited edition bears, as well as, bear paintings, sculpture, posters and collectibles. The museum highlights work by some of the worlds most imaginative bear designers working with various materials. The museum sponsors community events throughout the year including, teas, workshops and bear shows.
The puppet, teddy bear and toy museum, located in Germany, provides a history of puppets and toys from 1845. A special rarity is the Stiff Teddy Bear School from 1910.
The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum, located in the UK, is a wonderful place for children and adults who still know what it is like to have fun. With such favorites as Rupert Bear, Winnie The Pooh and even today’s TV favorites, are included in a century of teddy bear history. If viewing this exhibit prompts you to adopt a bear of your own, there is a teddy bear shop on nearby Trinity Street. The Northam House Museum of Early Childhood features an antique teddy bear museum and an antique doll museum. There are over 700 antique and vintage teddy bears and more than 200 antique dolls on display at the museum in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Quite a few of our soft, fuzzy friends have been thrown into the trash or destroyed by one thing or another over the years. My own childhood teddy, Cinnamon Bear, was lost on a trip to a relative’s when I was young. I have never stopped missing him.
Museums are a great place to visit teddy bears that used to belong to someone else. The attachments we form to our teddy bear goes beyond that of any other toy. He is our hero when the dark, night gets scary, our guest when we need a partner to play a game or join our party, a companion when we are embarking on a very dangerous adventure and a best friend when we are feeling sad or lonely.
I’ve often heard it said, ‘the definition of a friend is, someone who knows all of your faults and loves you anyway’. If that doesn’t describe a teddy bear, I don’t know what would.