Some of them are missing eyes and limbs while others are leaking stuffing. But whether whole or tattered, teddy bears are the treasured relics of many a child's history-and of Chicago's too.
"Chicago has a rich history and connection to the teddy bear, and it is only fitting that we celebrate this beloved companion where it will feel at home and welcome," says Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg
She developed "Teddy Bears at Home in Chicago," an exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E.Washington St. The exhibit, through March 23, celebrates the city's long connection to the toy, as well as Teddy's recent 100th birthday.
The teddy bear got its name in 1902 when cartoonist Clifford Berryman coined the phrase "Teddy's Bear" in a Washington Post cartoon depicting President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear cub that had been captured for him during a hunting trip in Mississippi. Chicago was one of the earliest sites of teddy bear distribution and one of the first places to publish teddy bear books. Today, Chicago is home to the North American Bear Co. and two major sports teams named after the large, furry animals, the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
The exhibit showcases more than 100 vintage and modern teddy bears, as well as teddy bear-themed artifacts, such as books, music and photographs. Admission is free and includes a variety of activities and special programming, including portraits with your own bear, storytelling and gallery lectures about the history of the teddy bear.
For information, call (312) 744-6630 or visit www.cityofchicago.org/Tour/CulturalCenter.
-- Matt Alderton
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