A Teddy Bear Story at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

By Culture24 Reporter | 31 January 2013

Exhibition preview: Teddy Bear Story, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland, until February 24 2013

A photo of a yellow-coloured teddy bear with a red bow tie on looking forward
The Dean's Rag Book Co. (1903) Ltd, Jointed teddy bear (1930s). Gold mohair© Victoria and Albert Museum
For fans of visitors-to-exhibits ratios, the 88 bears in this show have attracted 90,000 people since last September. Paddington, Pooh, Pudsey and the Care Bears’ popularity seems to be enduring.

“It strikes a chord with so many people,” says Jo Cunningham, the Manager of Sunderland Museums, having borrowed the parade of inanimate hairies from the V&A Museum of Childhood.

“Our visitors, young and old, have loved it – everyone remembers their first teddy bear. The feedback from people has been amazing.”

The first teddy bear was designed in 1902, and German manufacturers Steiff made their first jointed bear a year later.

Since then, as this display shows, the materials and designs of bears have evolved, sometimes influenced by social, economic and safety issues, or tailored to fairytale or folk narratives.

A Three Bears House and Storytelling Tree also keep things lively for kids.

  • Open 10am-5pm (2pm-5pm Sunday). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @SundMuseum.

More pictures:

A photo of a stuffed blonde teddy bear in a blue duffel coat, red hat and red wellies
Gabrielle Designs, Paddington Bear (1980). Nylon plush© Victoria and Albert Museum
A photo of a diagram showing designs for a yellow and black teddy bear with instructions
Dean's Rag Book Co. Ltd, Pattern for Dean's Rag Knockabout toy (1905). Printed cotton© Victoria and Albert Museum
A photo of a light pink and white teddy bear with hearts on its chest sitting upright
Kenner Products, Love-a-Lot Bear (1983). Nylon plush© Victoria and Albert Museum
A photo of a small old light brown teddy bear sitting upright on a white surface
Steiff, Gold Yorkshire jointed teddy bear (1905-10). Cloth plush© Victoria and Albert Museum
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: