Is the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju worth visiting
When our tour guide first mooted the idea of visiting a teddy bear museum, I protested. I didn’t see the need to visit a museum of teddy bears, firstly because my favourite childhood toy was a big furry mouse, and secondly because I had come to Jeju to visit sites of natural beauty, and unlike the Jeju Loveland, felt that I was not able to appreciate teddy bears in their various shapes, sizes and costumes, no matter how I tried.
But still we went anyways, and at the entrance, we went on our own min-safari of sorts.
The exhibits were varied, though it made me think that I was in a plush toy shop for some reason. Some bears were in glass displays, others, life-sized ones, having a tea party. While I may discredit the concept of the Teddy Bear museum, I must say that some of the effort that has gone into putting up the exhibits is worth a ‘pat on the back’.
Unfortunately, at the end of the short 10 minute work in the museum, I did not find out why Girls would like to visit teddy bear museums. All we saw were teddy bears in different outfits and sizes. The most alarming exhibit was that of a life-size teddy bear clad in a pink satin gown. Like in Enid Blyton tales, I felt that they could almost come alive in the evening.
The Souvenir Shop
I think the Souvenir Shop was a better ‘exhibit’ as there were more things to see. I suppose if you’re into ‘宫 Goong’ bears, made popular by the drama series ‘Princess Hours‘, the souvenir shop is a place which you could take them home. They are pricey though – I remembered one average sized bear priced at about 50,000 won.
Misrepresentation of bears from around the world
So I thought the exhibit showcasing several teddy bears from different parts of the world was an attempt to go international, though I must say that it wasn’t done very well. For instance, the exhibit of the Indian teddy did not carry the flag of India, which comes in the colours of saffron, white and green, and instead, carried the flag of USA. When I look further, I realised that they were wearing the outfits of Red Indians, not so much that of India, where I would imagine the bear being clad in a Sari or a Punjabi suit. It made me think that the creator has got his head stuck in the 1800s, as conflicts and the resettlement of Native Americans took place mostly then.
The few saving graces
To be fair, there were a few saving graces – which came in the form of teddy bears finding their way to international paintings, such as the Mondrian, and The Vitruvian Teddy, referenced from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. I thought they were cute additions to the painting, and made one think about wanting to find out more about them.
Should you be curious, The Vitruvian Man which is translated to “The proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius”), is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the architect Vitruvius. The drawing, depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. It was meant to represent the proportions of the human body, based on Leonardo’s observations on human anatomy.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
The Teddy Bear museum is by far, my least favourite place given that there was little value to be derived from it. Apart from the cute touches to famous pieces of art, I wasn’t very amused when I saw the ‘Indian’ label and American flag marked on the teddy bear pair.
Like both the Ice and Trickeye museum, I felt this museum had little education value, and didn’t understand why would girls, or even children would enjoy the place. I suppose if you’re big teddy bear fan, it would have been nice, but otherwise I don’t see any value visiting stuffed leopards, monkeys and bears. You’re better off visiting the zoo.