The Steiff Museum, Giengen, Germany

When visited: May 2014                     Weather:  15C

With a few days to kill waiting for the Leica 100th anniversary event in Wetzlar, I embarked on a drive from Frankfurt to the south eastern corner of Germany planning to visit Salzburg and Berchthesgaden/Konigsee. Having hired a car on the advice of a friend, I set off on the 600km journey stopping at the Wertheim Village Outlet for a first break and then onto the first major place of interest on this tour….the Steiff Museum. A friend who collects teddy bears had told me about the history of teddy bears and how the German company Steiff is the leading manufacturer of hand made and collectable teddy bears, often in limited editions. I found it fascinating that with Germany’s world leading manufacturing  technologies in car, camera and other high tech equipment, they also have the wherewithal to hand make teddy bears!

Interestingly, the roads for a few km near the museum were sign posted “Teddy Bear Museum!”

Teddy Bear Museum road sign

Teddy Bear Museum road sign

Entrance to the Steiff Museum

Entrance to the Steiff Museum

 modern entrance

modern entrance

If you need food, there is a pleasant enough cafetaria in the museum where you can recharge before joining the tour which can be in German or English.  It starts off with a look at Margaret Steiff’s old workshop…

Margaret Steiff's old sewing box

Margaret Steiff’s old sewing box

 

Margaret Steiff's sewing machine with the elephant which started it all

Margaret Steiff’s sewing machine with the elephant which started it all

 

Our guides Frieda and Knopfl

Our guides Frieda and Knopfl

The classic Steiff teddy bear

The classic Steiff teddy bear

The displays were automated and really quite fun as they explained the history and traditions of Steiff.  Craftswomen were working on some soft toys…

the Steiff work place

the Steiff work place

 

And here is how they put teddy together….L1035406 L1035403 L1035408L1035409  L1035412 L1035414

 

Note the button in the ear…all genuine Steiff bears have the button in the ear. After an hour or so on the tour, browsing the shop was great fun and a limited edition Steiff teddy bear is a great souvenir to bring home…certainly different!

If you have young children, (and even if you don’t!) this is an enchanting place to visit and you can reckon on spending a couple of hours here easily.  It’s not very far from Munich so would be a great side trip…

2 thoughts on “The Steiff Museum, Giengen, Germany

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