Month: May 2011

Ballard Institute to participate in Heritage Preservation’s Conservation Assessment Program

The Ballard Institute has been named one of 101 museums across the United States to participate in the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

According to a statement from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, “the Conservation Assessment Program assists small museums in providing appropriate care for endangered collections. In 2011, 101 museums in 36 states and Puerto Rico will have the condition of their collections and historic structures assessed. CAP is administered by Heritage Preservation and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through its National Leadership Grants program.

“The wide array of 2011 recipients includes the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut; the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia; Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii; the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois; and the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center in Lawton, Oklahoma.

The CAP program will help the Ballard Institute develop its plans and policies for maintaining its collections of over 2,700 puppets, as well as books, manuscripts, and audio-visual resources documenting the global history of puppet theater.

“Epic Shadows” Exhibition at UConn Health Center in Farmington


The University of Connecticut Health Center is hosting a selection of shadow figures from the Ballard Institute’s Epic Shadows: Tolu Bommalata Puppets from Andhra Pradesh exhibition, from now until July 27 at the Health Center Hospital Lobby in Farmington.

Examples of the rich traditions of South Indian shadow puppetry are on display in exhibition cases in the hospital’s lobby and mezzanine.  The exhibition is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The UConn Health Center is located at 263 Farmington Avenue in Farmington, Connecticut  06030.  For directions to the Health Center call 860 679 2000.

This exhibition is part of the World of Puppetry in Hartford series of exhibitions, workshops, and performances sponsored by the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.


Roberts Foundation to Support Ballard Institute’s “World of Puppetry in New Haven” Project

The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation of West Hartford has announced it will support the Ballard Institute’s World of Puppetry in Hartford project, with a generous grant for this 2011-2012 collaborative effort with four of Hartford’s great cultural institutions: the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the UConn Health Center, Billings Forge Community Works, and the Mark Twain House and Museum.

—   The World of Puppetry in Hartford project begins at the UConn Heath Center with Epic Shadows an exhibition of rare South Indian Tolu Bommalata shadow puppets from Andhra Pradesh in two of the Health Center’s exhibition spaces.  This exhibit is now open, and will be up through July 21.

— In late August the World of Puppetry in Hartford continues in late August at Billings Forge Community Works in the Frog Hollow neighborhood in downtown Hartford, with a community puppet-making workshop led by renowned puppeteer Sara Peattie, of Boston’s Puppeteers Cooperative.  Peattie will lead puppet-building and performance workshops with UConn Puppet Arts students members of the Frog Hollow community. The project will culminate in a procession and street theater performance on the occasion of Billings Forge’s major fundraising Farm- to-Table Dinner on September 15, 2011.

—   A Ballard Institute and Puppet Arts Program collaboration with the Mark Twain House will involve an exhibition of puppets from two productions based on Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in the Great Hall of the Mark Twain House, from November 4, 2011 to March 5, 2012, as well lectures and puppet demonstrations during the run of the exhibition. Accompanying the puppets will be a display of objects relating to “A Connecticut Yankee” from the Museum’s collections, including first editions, original illustrations by artist Dan Beard, and ephemera relating to modern adaptations of Twain’s novel.  Impromptu performances and workshops may also be presented.

—   The Ballard Institute’s collaboration with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will be a mask-making and performance project conducted in conjunction with a local community group such as Mi Casa or a Caribbean-based organization, to create a Carnival mask performance.  It will be presented at a “Free Saturdays for Families” community event at the Atheneum in mid-February 2012 in conjunction with the Carnival season.

UConn Puppet Alumni Open House at Ballard Institute

Join us during UConn’s Alumni Weekend at an open house for UConn Puppet Alumni, on Saturday, June 4 from 3 to 5 p.m.  The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry on UConn’s Depot Campus will host an open house event to welcome UConn Puppet Alumni and the people who love them.

Join us for snacks and refreshments and meet with other puppet alumni.  We will offer free tours of our two new exhibitions devoted to the work of our namesake: Frank Ballard: An Odyssey of a Life in Puppetry, (curated by puppet alumna Rolande Duprey) and Frank Ballard: Roots and Branches.

Help us with our on-going documentation of Puppet Arts history by recording your stories and thoughts about your work here, Frank Ballard, and other aspects of UConn puppetry.

We will be happy to show you what we are doing at the Ballard Institute, including our workshops, forums, traveling exhibitions, conference(s), tours, and ongoing preservation, digitization, repair, and cataloguing projects.

Hope to see you on June 4!