Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover, Vermont

         I am alone in a 150 year-old dairy barn.  The floorboards creak.  The roof shudders and groans in the wind.  I glance overhead. 

          I could be trapped inside the plot of a Stephen King novel If these figures were suddenly to come to life.  But they remain immobile and impassive.  The creepy creatures surrounding me are all puppets, retired from performances in the Bread and Puppet Theater.  
         The theater was founded in 1963 by artist Peter Schumann of New York City.   This museum was created in 1974 and 1975 when the theater moved from New York to the tiny town of Glover, in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.  The puppets are all hand-made and they're used in performances and pageants throughout the summer.  And the bread?  Fresh-baked sourdough rye is offered for consumption after the shows.

The puppets are fashioned here, outside the barn.
(See the two puppets with raised arms on the lower right.)
The bread is baked here also, in outdoor clay ovens.  Loaves of
rye bread are lined up on the far tables, awaiting the night's performance.

Perhaps this puppet was modeled after one
of the museum's bakers.

          The museum’s brochure reads:  “...a stately and aging barn holds one of the largest collections of some of the biggest puppets in the world.”  This is a gross understatement.  “Aging” is hardly the word for the barn; decrepit is more like it.  “Largest collections” doesn’t even begin to describe the display here; you’ll never again in your life see such a massive assortment of puppetry.  “Biggest puppets”—another understatement; some of these creations approach 20 feet in stature.

Puppets of the revolution.
18 foot tall Ben Franklin and his cronies stand guard
in the loft.

         Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve traveled to many and varied places on this continent, both natural and man-made.  The Bread and Puppet Museum is in a class by itself.  I’m proclaiming this museum winner of a new category titled: “Peculiar, Curious, Freakish, Unconventional, Outlandish and Bizarre”.  Walk through the museum with me and see for yourself:

A scene from a peasant village?

I can't even begin to imagine what this
group of puppets is up to.

Many of the puppet displays had placards posting information
about the plays the puppets appeared in.
Although the words were in English, many of the signboard's
messages were unclear to me!

"The Help"  I get this one.

Are these grotesque characters part of a mardi gras celebration?

Many of the performances are political in nature.
Perhaps these puppets have something to do with
class warfare?

Could this be the man in the moon?
But who is the menacing guy behind him?
        Travel to Glover and visit the Bread and Puppet Museum—at your own risk...  
        Learn more about the museum and theater and view the summer show schedule at this website:  http://breadandpuppet.org/museum


  1. Oftentimes it takes an 'outsider' to make some brilliant discoveries about the local area in which you live. Such is certainly the case this time, Rita, with your discovery of the Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover, VT!

    For nearly 10 years, Cheri and I have lived within about an hour's drive of Glover, and neither of us have ever heard of this unique place. However, I can assure you that we will be driving over there to check it out!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this information in your Blog!


    1. Hi John,

      If nothing else, I would recommend the one hour drive just to see the amazing variety of puppets at this museum. However, if you and Cheri also happen to attend a performance at the Museum, let me know what you thought of it.
      As I mentioned in the post, this is a most unusual and bizarre attraction, so... go at your own risk!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. This is a freaky post! The first time I tried to leave a comment, Google wouldn't let me, but I'm glad I came back because this time, all of your photos were displayed (something a little off with my computer, I guess), and they're truly remarkable. What kind of mind thinks up all those faces!

    You've managed to find mysterious and compelling corners of New England that even John and I didn't know about!