Teddy Bear Museum of Naples

AKA Frannie's Teddy Bear Museum

Attractions List
Poster Gallery

Teddy Bear Museum of Naples brochure

The Teddy Bear Museum of Naples began with a Christmas present: a stuffed M&M'S teddy bear given to Frances Pew Hayes by one of her grandchildren in 1984. Hayes liked the M&M'S Bear so much she began to collect more bears and bearaphernilia (but, unfortunately not, to the sorrow of the M&M Mars Candy Co., more M&M'S branded stuff -- although one supposes it could have gone either way). Between her own considerable purchasing power and gifts from friends and her large family, she was quickly able to amass a large and comprehensive collection of the toys.

The next logical step, if you're a wealthy patron of the arts used to getting things built (The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts didn't name its main auditorium "Frances Pew Hayes Hall" for nothing) you form a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization and open a museum. Thus, on December 19, 1990, with 1,500 bears from "Frannie" Hayes's collection, The Teddy Bear Museum of Naples (at that time known as "Frannie's Teddy Bear Museum") opened its doors. For a while the museum, which was located at the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport Roads in Naples, attracted a claimed 50,000 visitors a year, and the collection of teddy bears multiplied.

Hayes died on May 15th, 2004, at the age of 85. As happens with many museums founded in the passion of a single collector, the Teddy Bear Museum of Naples did not long survive its benefactor; it closed in 2005 and the collection was sold off.

Note: the attractions profiled on this site are no longer in business.

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Brochure image from the author's collection. Telephone number redacted (no point in calling whoever has it now, Museum is closed).

This site Copyright (c) 1997-2011 by Robert H. Brown