My 2008 Puppet Exhibit

In 2008, I had a large exhibition of my puppet collection at the library of the University of Detroit Mercy (the McNichols Campus).   I also included books and images related to puppetry.

This is also my day job.  I work the checkout desk, do book repair and do most of the lobby displays.  Right now, there’s a display on CHEMISTRY.  I helped with it, but it was mainly the Chemistry School (they brought their collections over).  

My original statement for this exhibit:

Puppets! Puppets! Puppets!
Opens Friday May 16 through Saturday July 19.
Maurice Greenia, Jr. started doing puppet shows in 1988 at the old Trobar Gallery on Third in Detroit.  Since then, he’s done hundreds of puppet shows (averaging 15 or 20 a year).  To mark his 20th anniversary as a puppeteer, he’s put together this exhibit.
It includes most of his puppet collection and books on puppetry (from his own collection and the library’s).
Greenia relates that “I’m cleaning, repairing and restringing those puppets which need attention.  While I’ve altered existing puppets, I’ve never really made my own from scratch.  I plan on doing so during the run of this show.  These will be added to the exhibit as they’re created.  I hope to make at least one or two.”
Some puppets may temporarily stray from the display cases if they’re needed to perform.

a Marionette of a French Policeman


I still do puppet shows, usually just 5 or 10 a year.  It’s usually totally improvisational.  I make up songs and bits as I go along.  My main goal is to surprise the audience and to get them laughing out loud.  I’ve had people screaming and “falling out of their chairs” laughing.  Once at the Dally in the Alley, unsupervised children attacked me and pulled the puppets off of my hands.  It was like a band being mobbed at a rock concert.  Then, I’ve had a few dud shows where people were confused by my act, just didn’t know what to make of it (squares!).  This is rare though.  I generally get an audience laughing.  It’s my comedy act! 

There’s a rich puppet tradition in Detroit.  There are still a lot of good puppeteers here.   In 2000, they hired some of us as “marionette wranglers.”  They had simple marionettes for the public to manipulate.  We got to give them pointers, untangle the strings and so on.  Some kids, who’d never tried to move puppets, had them kickboxing minutes after first trying to move them. 

The Detroit Institute of Art has a great puppet collection:

Detroit’s Puppet Art Theatre:


3 Responses to “My 2008 Puppet Exhibit”

  1. Don Handy (Mud) Says:

    Hey – I recognize my “Master of Disguise” puppet in the first shot: so THAT’S where it went to!

    Just kidding, of course. We’re glad that you put it to far better use than we could ever have.

    We’ve taken Ian to several Punch-and-Judy puppet shows over the years, but none were nearly as original or humorous as yours. Keep up the good work!

  2. Puppets on the Loose « Adventures and Resources Says:

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  3. My Library Exhibits at the University of Detroit Mercy | Adventures and Resources Says:

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