Italian puppetry museum. The museum was founded in Palermo, Sicily, in 1975 as the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette by the Associazione per la Conservazione delle Tradizioni Popolari (Association for the Conservation of Popular Traditions) which itself had been set up by Antonio Pasqualino. Initially, the museum was a centre for a variety of activities which aimed to link the Sicilian puppet theatre with theatre work in other countries.

With the death of Antonio Pasqualino in 1995, it proved difficult to give continuity to this institution since it had come to be valued both in Sicily and further afield because of the studies and the lectures of its founder.

The museum contains about four thousand objects including a particularly large collection of Sicilian pupi (puppets) coming mostly from four theatres (two from Palermo, one from Catania and another from Naples). To these can be added objects from most parts of the world, acquired following research, bought from antique dealers and from the numerous companies that have over the years taken part in the Morgana festival. The museum also manages a library devoted to puppet theatre and a video and audio library. It organizes festivals and exhibitions, produces shows, and publishes the Archivi di Morgana.

In May 2001, the museum supported the candidature of the Sicilian pupi for nomination by UNESCO as a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”. That same year the Association received the Costantino-Nigra prize for museography. It also moved into new premises in Palermo at 5 Piazzetta Niscemi.

(See also Italy, Opera dei Pupi.)


  • McCormick, John, with Alfonso Cipolla and Alessandro Napoli. The Italian Puppet Theater – A History. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Co., 2010.
  • Vibaek, Janne. Guida al Museo internazionale delle marionette Antonio Pasqualino [Guide to the International Puppet Museum Antonio Pasqualino]. Palermo, 1996.