organisation

Smithsonian Institution

Country

United States

Group of fourteen federally funded American museums, of which six have puppets in their collections. Except for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is in New York, the Smithsonian is located in Washington, DC.

National Museum of American History (Constitution Ave. & 14th St. NW Washington, DC 20560 www.americanhistory.si.edu) has objects from American history and popular culture. Famous television puppets in the collection include Bil Baird’s Slugger Ryan, Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy, Paul Winchell’s Jerry Mahoney, Rufus Rose’s Howdy Doody, Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch, and figures from George Pal’s puppetoons.

National Museum of Natural History (Constitution Ave. & 10th St. NW, Washington, DC 20560 www.mnh.si.edu) has over 200 puppets including a large group from Indonesia and others from Myanmar (Burma), Korea, and the New Hebrides.

National Museum of African Art (950 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20506 www.nmafa.si.edu) has twelve African puppets.

National Museum of the American Indian (Independence Ave. and 4th St. SW Washington, DC  20560 www.nmai.si.edu) has seven Native American puppets, originally part of the collection of the Heye Foundation in New York.

Hirshhorn Museum (Independence Ave. & 8th St. NW, Washington, DC 20506 www.hirshhorn.org) has seven cubist marionettes by Alexandra Exter (1882-1949).

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (2 E. 91st St. at Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10028 www.si.edu/ndm), located in New York City, became part of the Smithsonian in 1968. The collection includes several French shadow puppets from the Théâtre de Séraphin (1776-1870), a Guignol castelet (puppet stage or booth), and nine 18th century puppets.

(See United States of America.)