Ballard Museum Gala Opening Saturday, March 30

Join us Saturday, March 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Ballard Museum on UConn’s Depot Campus for our gala opening and celebration of two new exhibitions of extraordinary puppetry:  Exceptional and Uncommon: The Puppetry of Dick Myers, and Strings, Rods, and Robots: Recent Acquisitions.

Rod puppets by Dick Myers. Photo by Sara Nolen.

Exceptional and Uncommon: The Puppetry of Dick Myers is the first-ever exhibition devoted to the unique puppetry of Dick Myers, an unusually skilled—yet now relatively unknown—artist, engineer, and performer whose one-man shows excited audiences around the world in the mid-20th century.  This fascinating exhibition, curated by Puppet Arts MFA student Seth Shaffer, features Myers’ one-of-a-kind designs for Dick Whittington’s Cat (1966), Cinderella (1968), Beauty and the Beast (1972), Simple Simon (1976) and Divertissement (1978), as well as backstage views of Myers’ unique designs.



Marionette by Sally Smart. Photo courtesy of Contemporary Art Galleries.

Strings, Rods, and Robots: Recent Acquisitions showcases the exhilarating diversity of puppets from around the world recently acquired by the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.  Curated by UConn Art and Art History graduate student Lindsay Simon, the exhibition juxtaposes ancient puppet traditions with Modernist interpretations, with objects ranging from Vietnamese water puppets, Persian ritual rod puppets, and Javanese shadow puppets to 1930s Alabama marionettes, department store automata by Ellen Rixford, a lifesize robotic marionette by French media artist Zaven Paré, traditional Egyptian shadow puppets, a Dada-inspired marionette by Australian artist Sally Smart, and a stunning array of global puppet forms collected by John E. and Marilyn O’Connor Miller.



The Gala Opening Day events will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony with UConn School of Fine Arts Dean Bríd Grant, followed by guided tours of the exhibitions led by the curators.  At 3 p.m., Seth Shaffer and revered puppeteer Allelu Kurten, a longtime friend of Dick Myers, will discuss Myers’s work in a special UConn Puppet Forum in the Ballard Institute Conference Room.

Refreshments will be served throughout the event.

Following the Gala Opening, the Ballard Museum will be open to the public Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.  Admission to the museum is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

For more information about the Gala Opening, email  Make sure to check our facebook page for regular updates on Ballard Institute activities.

For directions and map to the Ballard Institute see this link.