Even though he was known for killing lots and lots of animals, the cute lil’ teddy bear was named after President Teddy Roosevelt due to an incident on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902. An American Black Bear was cornered, clubbed, and tied to a willow tree after a long chase with the hounds. Roosevelt refused to shoot it, believing this was unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery. How lovely! At the same time, the Steiff firm, unaware of the American teddy bear, produced a stuffed bear from a German inventor’s toy designs, which had been exhibited at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903. So remember these useless bits of trivia next time you are a contestant on a game show.
Anyway, South Korea’s Jeju Island is home to the Teddy Bear Museum, which features teddy bear versions of famous works of art, artists/celebrities and historical events. As you can see from the photos above, there are recreations of Mona Lisa, Creation of Adam, and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte as well as a Vincent Van Gogh teddy bear. Also, the fall of the Berlin Wall and D-Day invasion are enacted by teddy bears…of course. But the museum is more than just wacky teddy bear displays. There are antique examples over 100 years old, including some items from the original German company Steiff. Visitors can also see two of the world’s most expensive bears, the LV bear and the Diamond Bear. And outside in the garden, replicas of the Korean black bear family are placed throughout the grounds, probably scaring all the children.
If museums are supposed to be educational, I guess visitors learn that humans are basically useless without the important accomplishments of all these teddy bears.