American museum based in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History has had puppets in its collection since it opened in 1896. There are currently over 3,000 puppets. In 1902, Dr Berthold Laufer (1875-1934) collected 1,533 shadow puppets from China. Anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) assembled the collection of puppets from Bali in 1936. The collection holds 928 puppets from India, 452 from Java, 78 from Thailand, and puppets from Africa, Burma, Malaysia, New Zealand, North America, and Turkey. In 1974, Bette Erda curated an exhibition of Chinese shadow puppets.

(See United States of America.)


  • Dirks, Phyllis T, ed. American Puppetry: Collections, History, and Performance. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Co., 2004.
  • Erda, Bette. Shadow Images of Asia: A Selection of Shadow Puppets from The American Museum of Natural History. Katonah (NY): The Katonah Gallery, 1979.