· By The Wakaii Team
The World's Most Cherished Teddy Bear Collection: Jackie Miley's Story
Once upon a time, in the cozy town of Hill City, South Dakota, lived a woman named Jackie Miley.
Her name might not ring a bell to many, but in the world of teddy bears, she was a legend.
Jackie didn't just collect teddy bears; she embraced them, loved them, and turned them into symbols of joy, comfort, and connection.
This connection to teddy bears is a testament to benefits of plushies, especially teddy bears, in providing comfort and companionship.
This is not just a tale of a world record; it's a journey of the heart.
Note: Most of the information in this article is sourced from Guinness World Records. Specific references are cited where additional sources were used.
The Birth of a Dream: One Bear to Thousands
The First Bear
Jackie grew up without a teddy bear and only found their comforting embrace later in life.
In the year 2000, Jackie won her very first teddy bear on vacation, a bear she lovingly dubbed "Grandma Jackie."
This newfound joy led her to create a collection, sharing the warmth of teddy bears with others.
From that single bear, Jackie's collection blossomed.
Her interest in teddy bear characters led her to visit stores and thrift shops, buying them wherever she traveled.
Once she had nearly 3,000 teddy bears, friends encouraged her to submit her collection to Guinness World Records for review.
By December 2012, her collection was officially counted at 8,026 teddy bears, including the smallest at just 3/4 inches tall and the largest at nearly 8 feet.
That's when she held the record for the largest teddy bear collection for a few years.
- Diverse Collection: From bears representing every US state to those from 29 different countries, Jackie's collection served as a fascinating journey through the history of teddy bears, showcasing their evolution and cultural significance.
- Special Themes: Movie plushies like Frozen, iconic characters like Darth Vader, and even company mascots from Pepsi and NASA found a home in Teddy Bear Town.
Teddy Bear Town: A House of Memories
Creating a Community
Teddy Bear Town was not just a museum; it was a living, breathing community of teddy bears and the people who loved them.
Visitors from all walks of life found joy, comfort, and connection within its walls.
- Memorial Bears: Some bears were made from the clothes of people who had passed away, keeping their memory alive. Jackie cherished these bears, understanding the profound emotions they held.
- Winnie the Pooh Corner: Hundreds of Winnie the Pooh bears had their special space, celebrating one of the most beloved bear characters of all time.
- Jackie's Philosophy: "You name it, there's a bear that represents it," Jackie would say, capturing the essence of her collection.
"It's a house of memories; I'm just the keeper of those memories," Jackie once reflected, capturing the soul of Teddy Bear Town.
The Bears That Touched Hearts
Each bear in Jackie's collection had a story, a personality, and a place in someone's heart.
Here are some of the standout characters:
- Teddy Ruxpin: One of the first talking bears, both loved and feared by kids. Jackie's collection celebrated this iconic bear that sparked imaginations.
- Christmas Bears: Dancing Christmas bears that brought festive joy. Some even danced insanely, entertaining visitors with their quirky moves.
- Motorcycle Bears: Bears with helmets and jackets, representing the biker culture, added a touch of adventure to the collection.
- Singing Russian Bear: A bear from Russia that sang in its native language, symbolizing the global connections that Jackie's collection embraced.
- Elvis Bear: A tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, because, as Jackie believed, there was a bear that represented everything!
One bear in Jackie's collection holds her only surviving school picture from when she was seven.
This special bear connects her to her childhood in foster homes and holds a unique place in her heart.
Losing the Record but Winning Hearts
Though Jackie no longer holds the world record, her collection's legacy goes beyond numbers.
It's about the lives touched, the smiles shared, and the community built around a simple, comforting toy.
Her story is a reminder that passion, love, and connection can turn a simple hobby into something magical and inspiring.
It's not about being the biggest; it's about being the most cherished.
The closing of Teddy Bear Town in 2018 marked the end of an era, but not the end of the memories, joy, and connections that Jackie Miley's collection fostered.
Though she no longer holds the record, her legacy as the keeper of memories continues to inspire teddy bear lovers and dreamers everywhere.
As we reflect on this heartwarming tale, we invite you to tell us your thoughts, share your own teddy bear stories, or simply express what this journey means to you.
Your memories and connections add to the rich tapestry of life, just as Jackie's collection did.
If Jackie's story has awakened a love for plush friends in your heart, we invite you to check out our kawaii plushies collection at Wakaii, we even have kawaii teddy bears!
From adorable characters to unique designs, our plushies are waiting to become part of your own cherished collection.
And if you want to stay connected with more inspiring stories, exclusive offers, and a world of kawaii delights, subscribe to our newsletter for 15% off your next order!
Let's continue to celebrate the joy, creativity, and connections that make life a beautiful adventure.
1. "Video: Take a Tour of the World's Largest Collection of Teddy Bears." Guinness World Records, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2017/9/video-take-a-tour-of-the-worlds-largest-collection-of-teddy-bears-488783.
2. "World's Largest Teddy Bear Collection", YouTube, uploaded by Guinness World Records, 28 Sep. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1ewHZQpIqU&ab_channel=GuinnessWorldRecords.
Unfortunately, Teddy Bear Town in Hill City, South Dakota, closed in 2018, and Jackie Miley's collection is no longer available for public viewing.
Jackie Miley's love for teddy bears began with a single bear she won on vacation. Her collection grew as she found comfort and joy in teddy bears, leading her to share this passion with others through Teddy Bear Town until its closure.