Ballard Museum of Puppetry moves to Storrs Center in 2014
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 00:09
UConn’s Ballard Museum of Puppetry, together with the UConn Co-op, will be coming to Storrs Center this semester. The new location, located at One Royce Circle, will also include a café operated by UConn Dining Services, featuring crêpes and Dairy Bar ice cream.
The move from its original location at the Depot Campus is only one of the many changes coming to the museum.
According to museum director John Bell, Ballard Museum will increase the amount of programming offered, feature two exhibitions changing every month and be open year round, six days a week once at Storrs Center.
“This will be a big change from how we currently operate,” Bell said. “We will feature new and exciting puppets and programming for both adults and children.”
Currently, the Ballard Museum of Puppetry is open only three days a week. Once the new museum opens in Storrs Center, the buildings presently in use by the museum on Depot Campus will be primarily used for storage and maintenance purposes.
“We will have a collection management area to take care of puppets and preserve them (on Depot Campus),” Bell said. “Right now, we are really crowded. Depot Campus will mainly serve as a backstage for the new museum (in Storrs Center).”
The Ballard Museum of Puppetry has a collection of 3,000 puppets and features work from UConn students, Frank Ballard and puppeteers worldwide. The new 4,332 square-foot location will also feature three different exhibition rooms, of which one will include a performance space shared with the UConn Co-op.
“The performance space will be jointly operated,” said William Simpson, president and COO of the UConn Co-op.
According to Simpson, the Co-op’s Storrs Center branch will include a general book selection, UConn Husky apparel and a café that will feature light French inspired foods.
Through their partnership, Bell envisions One Royce Circle as “a very interesting hangout. We want to make it a center where people can buy books, communicate ideas and go back and forth easily between the Co-op and puppetry museum.”
In addition, the museum is also working closely with Mansfield Downtown Partnership by hosting workshops and taking part in parades.
“We have worked with (the museum) over the years” said Cynthia van Zelm, executive director of Mansfield Downtown Partnership.
Mansfield Downtown Partnership has collaborated with the Ballard Museum to host puppetry workshops where Mansfield residents decorated puppets to be featured in parades, van Zelm said.
“We hope to see more performances on the Green (from the museum)” van Zelm added.
The grand opening of the Ballard Museum Puppetry at Storrs Center, however, remains unclear.
“It is dependent on the construction schedule. (Construction) was supposed to end in late August” Bell said. “I think it may take us longer to move in.”
Regardless, Ballard Museum is planning an opening at the start of the new year in 2014.
“This is an exciting time for the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry” said Theodore Yungclas, assistant dean of the School of Fine Arts.