French institution comprising a Performing Arts Department (département des Arts du spectacle) established in 1976. This department was created from collections assembled since 1925 by Auguste Rondel – passionate collector of the history of entertainment and its paraphernalia – who amassed hundreds of thousands of documents, some concerning puppetry. Other donated collections include: the Autant-Lara “Art et Action” Fund; the Paul Vieillard Fund dedicated to shadow theatre from Séraphin up to the mid 20th century; the Gordon Craig Fund containing 130 Javanese wayang puppets and an entire iconography of the research of Edward Gordon Craig; the Gaston Baty Fund regarding his own work and research on the Joly Theatre; and the most recent Georges Lafaye Fund. This vast collection includes various elements such as: posters, photographs, programmes, and texts, however fewer documents are being added in the present.
The goal of the department is not to be a puppet museum, but to make available to the public a maximum of theatrical arts documents, including those of puppetry.
Up until 2004, the Performing Arts Department was housed in the Arsenal Library (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal) in Paris. It was then transferred to a renovated space of the Richelieu site at the National Library, 58 rue de Richelieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. Unlike other departments, access is available to anyone who purchases a non-selective library card.