WORTHING Museum and Art Gallery is one step closer to re-opening display

WORTHING Museum and Art Gallery is one step closer to bringing its 70 teddy bears and 1,000 dolls back out from storage.

A Worthing charity has donated £1,500 to the museum in a bid to bring the toys back out of the cupboard and onto display.

The museum was forced to take down its teddies and toys display last autumn, due to some cases being so old – they were “literally falling apart and letting bugs in”.

Dot Watson, a member of the charity’s committee, said: “We’re excited by the museum team’s proposals to create a new gallery to display their wonderful and important teddy collection, and we were delighted to agree unanimously to donate £1,500 to the appeal.

“It is a pleasure to support this excellent museum that we are privileged to have in our town.”

Friends of Worthing Museum have raised over £9,500 for the museum between 2001-2009 alone, through members subscriptions, fund-raising events and gift aid.

Museum manager and curator for toys and teddy bears, Diana Peek, said: “We now need to start fund-raising because these cases cost an absolute arm and a leg. A good case is between five and seven thousand pounds.

“It’s starting gently, but this is a whole new venture for us. We have never had to go out and fund-raise before, but everyone coming through the door is being very generous.”

Diana added the teddies serve an educational purpose and represent an entire history of toys in Worthing.

She said: “We use the teddies to teach everything from nursery level right through to secondary schools.

“Worthington is one of the most popular bears. He’s rather a handsome chap and is quite user-friendly because we can actually allow the children to hold him.”

The teddy bears are mainly from the Victorian era, but some of the dolls go back as far as the 18th century.

For more information about the toy collection, or to donate, call Worthing Museum on 01903 221448.