Meet some very special teddy bears at the Oxfordshire Museum

Childhood cuddly toys and much-loved family teddy bears from residents across the county are a focal point of a fascinating new exhibition at the county council’s Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock.

The display features over 20 much loved Oxfordshire teddy bears from families across the county and beyond.

IMG_5639It forms part of a wider exhibition titled ‘Archie and the Poet’, which focuses on the poet-laureate John Betjeman and his lifelong companion teddy bear, Archibald Ormsby-Gore (also known as Archie) now 114 years old, and Jumbo the elephant, aged 92.

The exhibition explores how former Uffington resident Betjeman used Archie as an alter-ego, using original material and audiovisual content. It will also explore the archaeology of Archie and his intriguing history of repairs and changes.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Corporate Services, said: “In celebration of the Archie and the Poet exhibition, on loan from the Tom Brown’s School Museum in Uffington, we thought it would be a lovely opportunity for residents to tell the stories of their own teddy bears.

“My own teddy bear is Australian, a gift from my grandparents when I was born, who were holidaying in Australia at the time. He's been my companion ever since. I look forward to hearing about other people's teddies too."IMG_5632

These special bears also include one owned by a little girl, Kayleigh Harper, who at the time was the youngest child in the UK to receive a heart transplant aged only seven months.

There are fun family activities alongside the exhibition and a gallery dedicated to play including sensory objects and creative writing. Those looking for some teddy-inspired fun and learning during February half-term should definitely pay a visit to the museum. 

Residents can view the exhibition at the Garden Gallery, a purpose-built exhibition space at the Oxfordshire Museum, between 13 January and 25 February 2024.

Archie and the Poet is hosted at the Oxfordshire Museum in partnership with Tom Brown’s School Museum.

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