MFA encourages family fun with Winnie the Pooh exhibit

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MFA encourages family fun with Winnie the Pooh exhibit

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By Nia Beckett, news correspondent

Adults and children alike flocked to the Museum of Fine Arts, or MFA, Sept. 22 to see the vibrant new exhibition “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic.” Hood Milk, a Massachusetts-based dairy company, sponsored a fun morning of games, activities and snacks on the Huntington Avenue lawn in celebration of the exhibition’s opening.

Hood Milk employees offered free milk and cookies while kids played bean bag toss and worked on coloring sheets. Visitors also took playful pictures at a photo booth with Winnie the Pooh and Hood Milk accessories.

The family focus of the Winnie the Pooh exhibition appealed to Hood Milk as the new exhibition’s sole sponsor.

“This is a great partnership for us to really be there for the community,” Faith Ambrefe, the associate brand manager of Hood Milk, said.

MFA Deputy Director and Chief Brand Officer Katie Getchell emphasized her appreciation of Hood Milk’s principles.

“We’re grateful for [Hood Milk’s] sponsorship of the exhibition,” Getchell said. “It seemed like a great way to celebrate their family values and their place in family life.”

The MFA’s timing in acquiring the Winnie the Pooh exhibition was serendipitous. The MFA did not plan to open the exhibition around the release of the newest movie addition to the Winnie the Pooh franchise, “Christopher Robin.”

Instead, the MFA borrowed the exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of their series on children’s book illustrations. The MFA also displayed drawings and sculptures from the book series “Make Way for Ducklings” in an exhibition ending in June 2017, and they plan to have another children’s book exhibition within the next couple years.

“We wanted to make a series to help people understand that illustration is art. In many cases, book illustration is the first art that kids experience,” Getchell said. “[‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic’] seemed like the perfect fit for our series.”

The MFA has been working hard to make sure people know the museum welcomes visitors of all ages. Throughout the year, they offer art related activities specifically appealing to younger visitors. Kids can also borrow a tote bag with a sketchbook, colored pencils and a storybook for the duration of their visit.

“Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” comprises photographs, early editions, cartoons and other media in an exciting, multisensory experience. A notable feature of the exhibition is the compilation of over 80 original drawings from the “Winnie the Pooh” books. Video and audio, including a 1929 recording of author A. A. Milne reading the original “Winnie-the-Pooh,” supplemented the exhibition as well.

Beginning with the first book published in 1926, Winnie the Pooh grew into a renowned franchise with a wealth of generational value. Museum-goer Regina Hansen visited the exhibition with the youngest of her three kids.

“My grandfather read me Winnie the Pooh when I was a little girl,” Hansen said. “I have three kids and I read each of them Winnie the Pooh the summer before they went to kindergarten.”

Tickets to “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” are included in admission to the MFA, but are allotted for 30-minute entry time slots. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 6.