The Victoria and Albert Museum in London currently have a wonderful Winnie the Pooh exhibition on exploring the world of everyone’s favourite honey-loving bear in a “multi-sensory and playful” way. When I was younger I remember having two Winnie the Pooh books on my bookshelf (one was mine and one was my brother’s) that I loved reading and as a massive Disney fan anyway, I decided to check out the Winnie the Pooh: Exploring the Classic exhibition for myself.
What’s the exhibition like? What should I expect?
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I bought my ticket and it turned out to be so much better than I thought – a wonderful, creative experience. When you walk in you are greeted with a massive ‘Hallo’ in black letters against the wall surrounded by drawings of all the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. When you walk round initially, there’s a big display of various Winnie the Pooh paraphernalia, including various versions of the books in different languages and how they differed to the original, lots of toys and merchandise and even a Winnie the Pooh tea set given to the Queen when she was a little girl!
Opposite the display cabinet are some stairs with the ‘Halfway Down the Stairs’ poem in 3D letters on the wall.
“Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit..There isn’t any other stair quite like it. I’m not at the bottom, I’m not at the top; so this is the stair where I always stop.”
The stairs are proper stairs but look like they are sketched, which looks great and sets you up for what is to come in the rest of the exhibition.
The next room is designed to look like a bedroom (complete with a little single bed, Winnie the Pooh books and a sign that encourages you to take a seat and read bedtime stories) and covers A.A Milne and Christopher Robin’s family life and then you wander through into my favourite bit…
The main room is big and really does feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a book complete with a bridge over a projected stream to play poohsticks and big cardboard sketched trees. It really is a wonderful use of space.
There are various sections with drawings and information about the stories that appear in Milne’s books and typography hanging cleverly from the ceiling. There are SO MANY sketches of Christopher Robin and all the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. I loved looking at all of them and reading the background behind them including exactly why E.H Shepard drew a certain character that way – there’s even a drawing that shows where Shepard had originally drawn the characters then half rubbed out the lines and redrawn them in a different position and shorter.
This room also has a section dedicated to printing the Winnie the Pooh books, which explores both Milne and Shepard’s creative use of space on the page as well as exactly how Shepard’s drawings were transferred to print form.
If you are worried it will be too adult or kid-centric, I found it to be a wonderful blend between the two, appealing to the playful side in adults in how the exhibition was set out but with extra bits just for kids like a slide (I know right!) and a table for drawing.
How much will it cost to visit the Exhibition?
Entry into the V&A Museum itself is free but entry to the Winnie the Pooh Exhibition will set you back £8 for an adult ticket and is free for kids entering along with a paying adult. There are various concession prices available too so check them out here to book. If you are a member of the V&A, entry is also free.
Tickets are timed so make sure you know which date and what time you want to visit before you book, though I turned up ten minutes early for my timeslot and they let me in no problem but I’m not sure how late after your slot you can enter so you should probably aim to be there in plenty of time.
How long is the Winnie the Pooh exhibition on for?
It runs until Sunday 8th April 2018. It is open 10.00 – 17.30 with the last ticketed entry at 16.00; Friday: 10.00 – 21.30 with the last ticketed entry at 20.00. There are still tickets for various days and time slots at time of writing.
Should you go visit?
Yes. If you like Winnie the Pooh and grew up reading the books then this exhibition is definitely for you. If you are not as big a fan, this exhibition is still interesting, covering background information on how Winnie the Pooh came to be, lots of information on E.H Shepard’s portrayals and why they were drawn as they were with loads and loads of sketches as well. At £8, I really did think it was value for money and you could always make a day of it and visit the rest of the V&A either before or after you see the Exhibition. And yes, I did buy a book to replace my childhood ones and to read on the train home.
Did you used to read Winnie the Pooh as a kid or maybe you love the books now? Would you visit this exhibition? Let me know in the comments below.
Why not pin this for later?