Last updated: 4/14/2013
Storrs, Connecticut
Street Address
6 Bourn Place, U-212
Storrs, CT 06269-5212
Mailing Address
The Ballard Institute And Museum of Puppetry
School of Fine Arts, Depot Campus
Storrs, CT 06269-5212
phone: 860-486-0339
Sunday, Friday - Saturday12 PM - 5 PM
and by appointment.
a $5 suggested donation appreciated.
Free. Donations Accepted.
Special Event Rental
Group Tours

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is one of America’s hidden treasures—a superb collection of over 2,500 puppets from all over the world; an archive of books, manuscripts, posters, drawings, audio-visual materials and photographs all covering the history of puppetry. It is also the new home of the Puppeteers of America’s Audio-Visual Collection: the largest collection of videotapes, films, and other media about puppetry in the United States.

The Ballard Institute curates and produces exhibitions of puppetry, both at the Ballard Museum and for touring across the United States. The Institute also offers workshops, museum tours, artists’ forums, film showings, performances, and other events and programs that promote the art of puppetry as a twenty-first-century art form with deep historic and global roots.

Please see our website of facebook page for current exhibitions.

Educational Programs


The Ballard Institute is currently offering workshops in a number of puppetry styles for groups of children and adults. Our workshops are conducive to educators seeking new and inventive ways to incorporate puppetry into their teaching methods, and to student organizations looking to learn more about how to build and manipulate puppets.

Included in our workshops is a tour of the museum exhibits. The workshops can be tailored to suit any age group. We can comfortably accommodate up to 20 students, though have hosted groups as small as 5 and as large as 50. If you would like more information, or to schedule an event with the Ballard Institute, please e-mail Anna at

  • TOY THEATER: Historically, toy theatres were popular in staging operas and large theatre productions in miniature, but they are still a very vibrant style of puppetry today. Students will learn about the history of toy theatres, have the chance to build simple toy theatres of their own, and learn how this form of puppetry can be a powerful and entertaining way to tell stories. Students are asked to bring a cardboard box (no smaller than shoe box size). 2-3 hours, 15 per student
  • ROD PUPPETS: Students will learn a way to build charming rod puppets out of simple materials. They will learn the basics of how to manipulate them to express emotions and tell stories, and have the chance to create short performances to present to the group. 2 hours, $12 per student
  • HAND PUPPETS: Students will learn a fun way to make hand puppets. They will learn the basics of speaking and expressing emotions with their hand puppets, and will have the chance to create short performances to present to the group. 2 hours, $10 per student
  • SHADOW PUPPETS: Shadow puppetry is a very traditional form of puppetry that has existed for hundreds of years in many parts of the world. Students will learn a bit about shadow puppet traditions, have the chance to create simple puppets of their own, and will learn the basics of how to manipulate them using an overhead projector–a popular style of shadow puppetry pioneered here at the UConn Puppet Arts program. 2 hours, $10 per student
  • MASK-MAKING: Masks are often used in teaching about puppetry because they help performers to understand how to tell stories using their whole bodies, like a puppet would. Students will make masks out of simple materials, practice expressing emotions without words, and have a chance to share their creations with the group. 2-3 hours, $10 per studen

Kay Janney Library and Archives

The Ballard Institute’s Kay Janney Library and Archives, named for its longtime librarian, is a research collection of over 2,500 books, scripts, manuscripts, clipping files, posters, and audio-visual materials related to the history of puppet theater. While the collection covers the global history and current state of puppetry, it is particularly strong in materials dealing with twentieth- and twenty-first century puppet theater in the United States. In 2010 the Kay Janney Library became the home of the Puppeteers of America’s Audio-Visual Collection, a resource of over 700 films, videotapes, and other records of American puppetry over the last hundred years. The Kay Janney Library is open to scholars and other interested parties by appointment.

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars

Appointment required: No


Wheelchair Accessible


Special Event Rental

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Charles Town, West Virginia

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