More than 90 years after first coming to life, Winnie-the-Pooh is coming to Boston.
Starting Sept. 22, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston will feature hundreds of artifacts, as well as interactive activities, related to the creation, history, and legacy of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories in a new “playful and multi-sensory” exhibition, museum officials said in a press release.
Visitors to the “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” exhibition, which opened to MFA members on Sept. 16, will be able to explore original drawings, early editions, letters, photographs, cartoons, and fashion related to the creation and development of the world-famous cartoon bear and his companions, which include Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin.
“This exhibition is a wonderful combination of the ‘real’ and the ‘imagined,’ and I hope it helps every visitor re-connect with the original stories — true classics that are worthy of revisiting,” exhibition curator Meghan Melvin said in a statement from the museum.
A focal point of the exhibition is the collaboration between A. A. Milne, the writer of the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and E. H. Shepard, the original illustrator. On display will be Shepard’s first portraits of the Winnie-the-Pooh characters, which were based on the real toys of Milne’s son, who inspired the Christopher Robin character, officials said.
Fans of the iconic characters and their stories will also be able to take a look at more than 80 of Shepard’s original sketches for the four original Winnie-the-Pooh books, replicas of Christopher Milne’s stuffed toys, Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia spanning 90 years, and a handwritten letter from Milne to Shepard written in 1926.
The exhibition is family oriented. Children who visit can listen to a 1929 recording of Milne reading Winnie-the-Pooh. Perhaps they’ll listen to it after playing on the slide and foot bridge and checking out Christopher Milne’s childhood bedroom.
“I definitely think the subject matter appeals to all ages,” Melvin said. “For the installation, we’ve made a lot of conscious decisions to make it very warm and welcoming for even the youngest visitors.”
The exhibition will close on Jan. 6, and time-entry tickets are required. Tickets are free for members and children.
“Pooh is a global phenomenon,” Melvin said. “Nearly a century after his creation, he’s a figure that is recognized all over the world. . . . The timeless qualities and the humor and elegance of the original stories are the underlying reasons for their popularity.”Andres Picon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.