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The Invention of a Teddy Bear & The Art of Toys

posted on June 30 2017

Art Exhibit at the Jewish Museum in NYC by Charlemagne Palestine

Noah's Arc full of plush and other Cool Installations at the Jewish Museum in New York

What a wonderful exhibit to take the kids to this summer! For our friends in or near New York City, check our Charlemagne Palestine's installation pieces. 

Some of the plush animals have been made by hand by the artist others are found objects and incorporated in the exhibit who believes that plush animals are a Shamanic representation of the soul. We couldn't agree with him more.

Palestine who is best known for his experimental music has been inspired by the invention of the teddy bear and incorporates his museum and hundreds of plush animals into his exhibits.

Charlemagne Palestine art exhibit of teddy bears at the Jewish Museum in NYC

And this is a great story. Turns out the first documented teddy bear was made in Brooklyn. (where else?) In 1902 an immigrant couple, in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Palestine was born, hand sewed the first known bear as a tribute the President Theodore Roosevelt.

At the time an incident about how the president refused to shoot a bear cub on a hunting trip became national news. Popularized by the prominent illustrator Clifford Berryman’s cartoons in the Washington Post, shown below, there is something so sweet and tender about the anecdote and evident in the comics as well.


Popular Cartoon Strip showing Roosevelt and the Bear Cub he refused to shoot.


The couple that sewed the first teddy, the Michtoms dubbed the newly invented toy "Teddy's Bear". So that, my friend's, is how bear plush toys came to be know as Teddy's.

Amazing. Amazing. Story. And one that can easily be retold to your kids. 

We'll be making a special trip out to visit the Jewish Museum to see how one story has led to another and to another and now this wonderfully fanciful exhibition, on until August 6th. For details click here.


Or as the Huffington Post put it:

…a fantastical world where rags are gods, where toys are relics, and where every object, animal and human, is deserving of love.

Awwwww xo


 Clifford Berry cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear cub

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