French museum situated in the old section of Lyon. The museum shares its location in the ancient residence of the Gadagne – a merchant family originally from Florence – with the Old City of Lyon Historical Museum. When it opened in 1921, the Museum of the City of Lyon exhibited a few historical Guignol puppets by their creator, Laurent Mourguet. After World War II, the French government reorganized all of its nation’s museums and due to Mourguet’s Lyon origins, the museum became the main repository for French puppet items. In 1950, the puppetry department was re-established as the Musée International de la Marionnette (International Museum of Puppetry). In 1956, a donation by Léopold Dor consisting of one thousand nine hundred and eleven items, including six hundred from various parts of the world, engendered a vital turning point for the museum. In Liège in 1958, UNIMA determined that the Gadagne Museum would be the European centre for traditional puppetry, and the museum was subsequently bestowed with thousands of documents from abroad. However, follow-up efforts did not materialize and the museum’s initial role waned.
The museum’s general reorganization up until 2006, and the very important work that came about, opened new perspectives: it made collections available to researchers – the study of the Léopold Dor Fund alone should open entire areas in the history of puppetry in France –; it welcomed the archives of contemporary French puppeteers; organized temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent collections; and edited thematic catalogues such as Marionnettes siciliennes (Sicilian Puppets, 1996), Les Ombres du Chat noir (Le Chat Noir Shadow Theatre, 1997), and Marionnettes vénitiennes (Venetian Puppets,1999).
Reopened to the public in 2009, the Musée des Marionnettes du monde, located at 1 Place du Petit-Collège in the 5th arrondissement of Lyon, is once again becoming the reference point for the entire field of puppetry.