When someone mentions puppets, you might conjure up images of Pinocchio or some warm and fuzzy creatures you’ve seen at children’s shows, but the puppets at the Bread and Puppet Theater are much, much different. At this 150-year-old barn in Glover, Vermont you’ll find giant puppets that are sometimes whimsical, sometimes political and more often than not, a bit unsettling. From the setting to the puppets within, this is one giant puppet museum in VT that is not for the faint of heart.
Head into Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and, about 25 miles south of the Canadian border, you’ll find one of the largest collections of some of the biggest puppets and masks in the world.
You’ll find an assortment of over five decades of puppets, masks, paintings and graphics in a 150-year-old barn.
In fact, the collection has grown to not only fill two floors in the barn, but it has spilled into the woodshed, the Cheap Art Bus and into the Paper Mache Cathedral.
There is also a museum store with Bread and Puppet’s posters and other artwork.
The farm is home to a cow, several pigs, puppeteers and chickens, as well as indoor and outdoor performance spaces, a printshop, store and old barn which serves as a museum to showcase the company's work.
Unlike most museums in the world, the Bread and Puppet Theater isn’t trying to painstakingly preserve each puppet. Rather, they believe that all things in this world will decay.
So, you’ll want to check this place out sooner rather than later!
The Bread and Puppet Theater (often known simply as Bread & Puppet) has been active since the 1960s when it began in New York City. It moved to Glover, VT in 1974 and still remains there today.
The theater began as a politically radical show and was initially active during the Vietnam War in anti-war protests. The puppets would show up to demonstrations standing 10-15 feet tall.
What’s in a name? Well, we’ll tell you!
The name Bread & Puppet comes from the theater's practice of sharing its own fresh bread with the audience at the beginning of each performance. This is meant to create a sense of community, and from its principle that art should be as basic to life as bread.
The puppets in the barn are arranged together in groups according to color, theme, size and scenes from some of their dramatic performances.
The contents of the museum are a result of the work by its founder and director, Peter Schumann. The actual production of the puppets comes from hard work and communal efforts by a core group of experienced puppeteers, volunteers, friends and neighbors working together.
Puppets and masks were made by layers of paper mache over Schumann’s clay models. They are adorned with simple materials such as cardboard and rummage sale clothes.
In the summer, many of the works go in the Museum’s front yard next to the clay oven where the famous bread is baked for the performances.
While you're there, you can see the puppet graveyard.
Always inclusive of everyone, there is even a wheelchair accessible outhouse on the property.
You’d be hard pressed to find anything like the Bread and Puppet museum anywhere else in the world.
During the winter, the Bread and Puppet museum is open by appointment or by chance. If you visit, please dress warmly and shut off the lights when you leave.
In the warmer months, the museum hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June 1st through November 1st.
Admission to the museum is free and donations are welcome.
In addition to the theater performances here, you can find the Bread and Puppet members in parades such as the Independence Day parade in Cabot, complete with a satirical Uncle Sam on stilts.
The greeters at the Bread and Puppet Museum are waiting for you to visit.
You can find the Bread and Puppet Museum at 753 Heights Rd
Glover, VT or visit their
for more information.