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Easter opening for Rupert Bear museum

Jessica and James Stephens play with some of the Rupert activities
Jessica and James Stephens play with some of the Rupert activities

THE story of Rupert the Bear is being told at a new museum in Canterbury dedicated to the popular and timeless children's character.

It celebrates one of the city's most famous literary connections with his creator, Mary Tourtel, who grew up went to art school in the city.

The Rupert Bear Museum is an extension of the Museum of Canterbury and has been developed with a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It opens to the public on Easter Saturday.

Passers-by in Stour Street have already had a glimpse of what to expect with a colourful and detailed window display showing Rupert having tea with his parents. But inside the imaginatively converted building, children are taken on an adventure into the world of Rupert with inter-active games and activities - from learning how to draw Rupert and paper folding to solving puzzles and a floor board game.

There are also many Rupert artefacts including a rare copy of the very first book published in 1921.

As well as Rupert, there is also display on Bagpuss whose creators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate live in the Canterbury area.

The museum is displaying the original set made by Peter Firmin for the Seventies television series, compete with the front window of Emily's shop where Bagpuss and his friends are gathered.

The conversion of the adjoining buildings are also allowed the opening of education rooms for use by local schools, a museum shop and a small gallery area for changing exhibitions.

Head of the city council's leisure and cultural services, Janice McGuinness said: "We are keen to mark the wealth of literary connections from Chaucer through to the present day and to use this tradition to inspire new writers too.

"These new displays are intended for local people to enjoy, but they also add an extra special reason to visit Canterbury at a time when our visitor numbers have dropped."

Residents of the Canterbury district can enter the Rupert Museum free of charge. It is open on Saturday and then Bank Holiday Monday.

Normally the new attraction will be open along with the Museum of Canterbury from 10.30am to 5pm Mondays to Saturdays.

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