The Museu da Marioneta opened its doors to the public in November 2001 at the Convento das Bernardas (Bernardas Convent). It is the first and only museum in Portugal solely dedicated to the interpretation and dissemination of the history of puppets and puppet theatre.

The collection comprises puppets of all types of manipulation techniques as well as masks and props from different parts of the world and various cultures. It has one of the most significant and complete collections of Portuguese traditional puppets.

The continuously renewed permanent collection offers the public a place to learn about the history of puppetry in Portugal, as well as masks and puppets of exceptional quality from Java and Bali (Indonesia), Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, India, Vietnam, China, Turkey, Sicily (Italy), and Mali. The museum also preserves the nuclei of the most significant families of European and Brazilian puppetry (see Brazil).

The museum plans to implement cultural projects with a diversified set of goals, including the organization of a specialized documentation centre, the mounting of temporary exhibitions, implementation of an editorial programme, and the production of puppet shows aimed at audiences of all ages. The prime mission of the Museu da Marioneta is to build an educational department promoting awareness and respect for cultural diversity and to create rewarding experiences by fostering regular visits to the museum through a non-formal educational approach which will contribute to the enhancement of our cultural heritage and social integration.

(See Portugal.)