The core of the collection comes from “Gracebear,” a Steiff enthusiast who continues collecting to this day. Gracebear has shared this collection with her daughter and son-in-law, Nan and Steve, who are the founders of The Den. Gracebear’s other collections rotate throughout the museum as temporary exhibits, including Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, Schuco toys and bears, and hand-carved wooden toys.
Local artists share their talents through the creation of charming dioramas that rotate throughout the year.
The Steiff History Room
The history of the Teddy Bear (and Teddy Roosevelt); the poignant story Margarete Steiff, the founder of the luxury toy company; and the design evolution of the Teddy Bear are some of the displays featured in this section of the museum.
The Rod Bear
On Loan from the collection of the late Mary Couke is the exquisite and rare 1904 Rod Bear, considered by many as “The Holy Grail” of Steiff Collectors. This bear features an early design attempt at movable joints through three metal rods in the body – horizontal ones for legs and arms, and a vertical one for the head.
The Basten House
The museum exists in a very special space – a marvelous 1860 farmhouse, in which houses seven generations of “The Basten” family. The museum experience is enhanced by this context – the old wall paper, the slopping floors, the secret passage ways, the antique door knobs, the original shutters, and the stone wall of “the keeping room.”
There are many, many more toys in the collection than there is room to show at any given time, so the displays and exhibitions change regularly. We hope you come back often to see what’s new. If you miss an exhibit, digital tours are available to museum visitors.
The museum and gift shop hours are as follows:
Wednesday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Special events may take place outside regular operating hours. Please check our events page for more information.
General admission to the museum includes a self-guided tour of our exhibits and access to the Mama Bear Lounge and the Kids’ Cub Cave.
Children (1 and under): Free
Children (2 – 17): $1.00