In Ausberg Germany there is a theater/museum that is haunted by decades of dangling wooden homunculi that have been delighting audiences for the better part of a century. The Augsburger Puppenkiste celebrates a long legacy of marionette performers, but is not recommended for those with a fear of puppets.
The Augsburger Puppenkiste (Ausberg Puppet Chest) was initially started in the 1940s by Walter Oehmichen and his family who would set up a small wooden stage that fit in a doorway, and put on original plays and fairy stories, using hand-crafted wooden marionettes. Their initial stage set-up was destroyed in a fire, so the Oehmichens developed the idea of the puppet chest which would turn into its own traveling stage, as well as hold the “performers.” By the 1960s, the theatre’s works were so popular that they were being featured in their own television segments, becoming somewhat famous for the opening sequence where the wooden flaps of he puppet chest would open to reveal the show.
Characters such as Jim Knopf and Luke the Engine Driver became beloved icons of German children’s television, and are still well known today. Their theater and museum in Ausberg is still owned and operated by Oehmichen’s children. The theater still puts on live marionette shows, while the museum itself displays an incredible menagerie of puppets from throughout the history of the Augsburger Puppenkiste. Some 70 years of dancing, dangling, jangling figures are on display.
The museum is an incredible collection, although the angular little people may unnerve those with a fear of dolls and the like. Either way, the Augsburger Puppenkiste museum is quite the experience.
Know Before You Go
The museum is on the second floor above the "Puppenkiste" theatre. You enter and pay admission at the box office.