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Winnie-the-Pooh, the lovable bear with a weakness for honey, will be the star of a new Museum of Fine Arts exhibition opening Saturday.
The story of Pooh and his friends Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, and Tigger, created by author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard, was first published in 1926 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages.
The MFA exhibition,”Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic,” will run through Jan. 6, 2019 and include more than 200 Winnie-the-Pooh items — original drawings, cartoons, proofs, early editions — that were primarily borrowed from the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Guests will have the chance to “step into the pages of the book,” according to curator Meghan Melvin, by spending time in recreations of Pooh’s home and the childhood bedroom of Christopher Robin Milne, the author’s son and basis for the character Christopher Robin. They’ll also be able to explore the Hundred Acre Wood and walk over Poohsticks Bridge.
Interactive activities for kids will include listening to taped readings of Winnie-the-Pooh stories read by Milne himself, drawing trees in the forest, and climbing into Eeyore’s house.
Visitors will also learn about the collaborative relationship between Milne and Shepard, Melvin said. They’ll be able to examine how the original black and white drawings have evolved over the decades, look closely at the page design, overall composition, and layout of the books, and view plenty of Pooh quotes on display.
“There’s always a lot of fun wordplay in the books,” Melvin said. “And that’s brought to life in this exhibition.”
Melvin said Winnie-the-Pooh stories have endured for nearly 100 years because of their “charm and wit.”
“They are as appealing to adults as they are to children,” she said. “So I think that’s the universal quality to them.”