Collector: Deb Hoffman
Occupation: Website designer in Waukesha, WI.
The collection: 16,851 Winnie the Pooh-themed items (Hoffman is the Guinness World Book of Records holder for Pooh and Friends memorabilia)
How she started her collection:
“As a child, your parents give you a toy and for me it was Winnie the Pooh. I dragged my first Winnie the Pooh with me all over the place,” Hoffman said. “It was so tattered that my mother had to put a new skin on it…. As a normal child, I grew out of Winnie the Pooh.”
However, in her 20s, the bug to collect them started up again.
“There was a gentleman working for Disney helping them to open up Shanghai Disney, and he actually purchased the very first item that was sold in the stores at Shanghai Disney and gave it to me,” Hoffman said. “It’s a Winnie the Pooh pen.”
How/where she displays her collection:
“I do have one room in our house,” Hoffman said. “And I have some curios and a couple of bookshelves… But here’s where things went sideways. [My husband Gary and I] own our own business, and we bought a second house next door and use that as our office.”
Her husband asked if she wanted to display her collection in some of the unused bedrooms.
“That was all I needed to hear,” Hoffman said. “I just snuck into the third room. Somebody actually donated 1,500 items to me so I needed a little extra room.”
“The only things I don’t have out right now are some backpacks,” Hoffman said. “I have about 200 and did not have room to display them so they’re in a box in the closet.”
As far as keeping the collection clean, Hoffman said, “Twice a year it’s a very, very long weekend because we pull out everything. We vacuum it, clean it, dust it, Febreze it and put it back. It’s an amazing amount of work.”