Center for Puppetry Arts updates expansion project

A rendering of the Spring Street elevation for the Center for Puppetry Arts.
A rendering of the Spring Street elevation for the Center for Puppetry Arts.

The renovation and expansion of the Center for Puppetry Arts on Spring Street in Midtown continues, and new details have been released about the permanent museum on the site, The Global Collection.

The Worlds of Puppetry will feature more than 170 puppets and artifacts, spanning five continents and showcasing various cultures across the world. Slated to open in fall 2015, the completed Museum will also include the Jim Henson Collection gallery, which will be the nation’s most comprehensive exhibit of Muppets and other characters.

“In our soon-to-open Global Collection gallery, visitors will be able to connect with their past through cultural and ethnic traditions exemplified,” said Executive Director Vincent Anthony. “Center patrons will soon have the chance to explore even more puppets of Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, as well as to understand their use in teaching and as tools of communication.”

Highlights of the Global Collection include the popular stop-motion clay animated Gumby and Pokey, as well as examples of the iconic European hand puppets Punch and Judy. Developed as prototypes for the Broadway production of Disney’s The Lion King, Julie Taymor’s Mufasa mask will join the Scar mask as part of the exhibit’s animal collection. The North American section of the Global Collection will also include a marionette from popular 20th century puppeteer Bil Baird. Of the more than 170 puppets and artifacts to be displayed in the exhibit, two pieces date back to the Pre-Columbian era, making them the oldest pieces in the Center’s collection. Also included are Bunraku puppets from Japan, water puppets from Vietnam and shadow puppets from Indonesia.

The Center is now nearing completion of the steel frame and will soon begin constructing the roof and exterior walls. Other aspects of the project include an expanded museum store, a new library and a new archival storage space. The Center for Puppetry Arts will remain open throughout the expansion and renovation process.

Information on supporting the Believe in Make Believe campaign is available online at puppet.org/BelieveInMakeBelieve.

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