From December 2017 until April this year, The Victoria and Albert Museum played host to a famous literary bear and his friends. The exhibition, Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic, brings together everything from A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard’s world of Winnie the Pooh.
While aimed predominantly at families with children who can explore the multi-sensory elements such as the Pooh Sticks bridge, there is no doubt that the exhibition also appeals to nostalgic adults like me who loved seeing the original manuscripts and illustrations.
The exhibition contains not just the drawings and manuscripts but also an array of other artefacts including, a tea set presented to Queen Elizabeth as a Princess in 1928 and photographs of Christopher Robin and his toys that inspired the books. The detailed information boards alongside each artefact also provided interesting reading and background knowledge – whether they were telling me something new or taking me back to my childhood when I first read and listened to the books.
The topic of audiobooks brings us onto another of the sensory parts of this exhibition. The whole room is set up like a-hundred-acre wood with trees in the style of Shepard’s illustration sporadically placed around the room. Two of these trees are carved out with a little seat, here you can sit and listen to the Stephen Fry dramatisation of two different stories from the Winnie the Pooh collection, which took me straight back to listening to them as a child on long car rides.
Winnie the Pooh has captured the hearts of a nation and will probably continue to do so for a long time. If you’re one of those people who fell in love with the world of Winnie the Pooh and his friends but couldn’t make it to the exhibition you can see much of what was on offer in our photos below, or in the book published by the V&A entitled Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic.
And this is where we leave you, goodbye! “But, of course, it isn’t really Good-bye, because the forest will always be there… and anybody who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”
Huge thanks to Catherine from the booksbirdblog for sharing her experience at the V&A exhibition.
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