Thursday, May 27, 2010

Teddy Bear Faire is this weekend!

Get ready for a bear-y good time this Memorial Day at Please Touch Museum! From Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31 we will be celebrating our annual Teddy Bear Faire. The Teddy Bear is perhaps the world's most pervasive, recognizable, and successful toy. They are a universal and indelible icon of childhood.

While the 'Teddy Bear' appellation in U.S. culture is traditionally, and correctly, attributed to President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt's popularity, the actual toy was created almost simultaneously in the U.S. and Germany. A display of generosity by President Roosevelt toward a black bear while hunting inspired Brooklyn confectioners Morris and Rose Michtom to create a stuffed bear toy which they referred to as 'Teddy's Bear.' The subsequent demand for these bears led to the creation of the first teddy bear manufacturer in the U.S.: the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

Meanwhile, in the same year, German toymaker Richard Steiff's company produced a stuffed bear toy, designed after his sketches of bear cubs at the Stuttgart Zoo. When an American investor saw these stuffed bears at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903, he ordered several thousand to be shipped to the U.S., hoping to capitalize on the nascent teddy bear craze. The confluence of these two inventions led to the rise of the teddy bear in the U.S., and it remains a widely popular today.

Visit our online calendar to see how we're celebrating the history of these wonderful toys!

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