School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
About Us

You can add a brief statement here briefly describing your office, school, or group. For example:

The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 8,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

Workshops and Tours

The Ballard Institute is currently offering workshops in a number of puppetry styles for groups of children and adults. Our workshops are conducive to educators seeking new and inventive ways to incorporate puppetry into their teaching methods, and to student organizations looking to learn more about how to build and manipulate puppets.

Included in our workshops is a tour of the museum exhibits. The workshops can be tailored to suit any age group. We can comfortably accommodate up to 35 students, though we have hosted groups as large as 65.

Available Group Tours/Workshops:

TOUR: A private, group tour of current Ballard Institute exhibitions can be scheduled with Ballard Institute staff. Tours are generally 45-60 minutes long.

$5 per person

TOY THEATER WORKSHOP: Historically, toy theatres were popular in staging operas and large theatre productions in miniature, but they are still a very vibrant style of puppetry today. Students will learn about the history of toy theatres, have the chance to build simple toy theatres of their own, and learn how this form of puppetry can be a powerful and entertaining way to tell stories. Students are asked to bring a cardboard box (no smaller than shoe box size).

2-3 hours

$15 per person

ROD PUPPET WORKSHOP: Students will learn a way to build charming rod puppets out of simple materials. They will learn the basics of how to manipulate them to express emotions and tell stories, and have the chance to create short performances to present to the group.

2 hours

$12 per person

HAND PUPPET WORKSHOP: Students will learn a fun way to make hand puppets. They will learn the basics of speaking and expressing emotions with their hand puppets, and will have the chance to create short performances to present to the group.

2 hours

$10 per person

SHADOW PUPPET WORKSHOP: Shadow puppetry is a very traditional form of puppetry that has existed for hundreds of years in many parts of the world. Students will learn a bit about shadow puppet traditions, have the chance to create simple puppets of their own, and will learn the basics of how to manipulate them using an overhead projector–a popular style of shadow puppetry pioneered here at the UConn Puppet Arts program.

2 hours

$10 per person

MASK-MAKING WORKSHOP: Masks are often used in teaching about puppetry because they help performers to understand how to tell stories using their whole bodies, like a puppet would. Students will make masks out of simple materials, practice expressing emotions without words, and have a chance to share their creations with the group.

1.5-2 hours

$10 per person

If you would like more information about tours and workshops, please e-mail Emily Wicks at
To request a tour and/or workshop, please complete and submit the form below.


“The activities were highly motivating and provided creative uses of easily found materials. Students were most excited with both the visual arts and the acting components. I would encourage all teachers to have their students interact with the staff at the puppet museum. They provide a rare opportunity to create a hands on visual and theatrical experience.”

Nancy Bunnell
Community School of the Arts