When your tiny puppeteers are pulling all your strings and begging for something new to try, pop over to the Center for Puppetry Arts for the brand new Worlds of Puppetry Museum. Featuring puppets from around the world as well as the most comprehensive collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts, this new museum is a multimedia experience filled with interactive displays that the littles will love. Read on to find out why you’ll want to visit ASAP.

Center for Puppetry Arts

The Jim Henson Collection Gallery

In 1978, Jim Henson and Kermit cut the ribbon on the brand new Center for Puppetry Arts. Over thirty years later, Kermit has found a permanent home in the Center’s new museum and Henson’s legacy is honored through the most expansive collection of his works and artifacts in the world. The kiddos will thrill at seeing Kermit and Piggy (separate cases, just in case you’ve heard rumors of a reconciliation), Big Bird, Fozzie Bear, other characters from Sesame Street, and more. And to delight the little hands that love to fiddle, pull, push, and touch, the Center designed the museum with interactive displays. They even have a closed-loop set for budding television puppeteers to experiment on.

Shadow Puppets

The Global Collection Gallery

Beyond Henson, the Center’s new museum has a vast collection of puppets from around the world and throughout time. Little hands can play with marionettes, manipulate shadow puppets, experiment with a hand and rod puppet, learn about stop motion puppets, and more. Each display includes an explanation of the type of puppet and the role that it played in mythology or culture (making it easy for mom and dad to answer the tough questions). If you really want to wow your kids, you can use your smart phone to interact with the exhibit and find out more about the puppets by scanning the QR codes. Just be sure to download a QR code reader before you attend. Want to learn a little about the puppets on exhibit prior to your visit? Check out the links on this page for the backstory and videos. Be sure to see the prototype masks of the characters Scar and Mufasa from “The Lion King” Broadway musical.

Center for Puppetry Arts

Time Commitment

With all the interactive displays and interesting puppets from around the world – each one representing a story you and your crew may not be familiar with – expect to spend around 20 to 30 minutes in The Global Collection Gallery if you’re visiting with preschoolers – more if you have older kids with you. Expect to spend about 25 minutes in the Jim Henson Collection Gallery if you’re visiting with preschoolers. We found the staff (who are busily milling around, keeping the glass display cases little handprints free) to be particularly helpful and knowledgeable about the exhibit. They’re also great with kids, so you can sit back and enjoy as they navigate the interrogation for a few minutes!

Center for Puppetry Arts

The Details: When to Visit

Beginning November 15 the Worlds of Puppetry Museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Last entry is at 4:30 p.m. each day. Keep in mind that school tours usually operate in the morning hours and wrap up by 2 p.m. on weekdays in case you want to avoid the weekday crowds. Regular admission to the museum is $10.50 for ages 2 and older and free for members.

Center for Puppetry Arts

Ticket Info.: What You Need to Know

All museum ticketing is timed-entry and guests have the option of purchasing all-inclusive tickets or museum-only tickets. All-inclusive tickets, which include museum entry, a performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and entry to the Create-A-Puppet Workshop, are $10.25-$14.25 (Members) / $20.50-$24.50 (Nonmembers). Museum-only tickets are free (Members) / $10.50 (Nonmembers). All tickets for the grand opening can be purchased online at puppet.org or by calling the ticket sales office at 404-873-3391.

Worlds of Puppetry Museum, Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St. N.W.
Online: puppet.org

What character would you most like to see at the Worlds of Puppetry Museum? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey

All photos courtesy of the author