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Sellwood's renowned nonprofit Puppet Museum is slowly reopening -- with a new exhibition

DAVID F. ASHTON - Putting the finishing touches on a new Around the World with Puppets exhibition, at the Portland Puppet Museum in Sellwood, is Steven Overton - here, working on a tableau featuring puppets from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and China. The large puppets in the background are fashioned in the likeness of 15th Century Indonesian temple carvings. After months of being closed entirely, then being granted sporadic reopening only to be closed again due to changing COVID-19 coronavirus government restrictions, the Portland Puppet Museum has now received word that they can host very small groups of guests in their unique facility.

"Because it's considered a 'retail store', we had been able to have people visit our upstairs Gift Shop, because it's totally separate from the museum," said its co-founder Steven Overton.

So now, they've opened their new exhibition, "Around the World with Puppets", featuring characters from 22 countries. "They're all staged as if you're watching a puppet show in their respective countries of origin," Overton told THE BEE.

On display are more than 250 puppets; some of them are at least 400 years old. "In a way, seeing these puppets, it helps us understand that 'we are not alone' in this country," Overton pointed out. "All around the world, performers have been giving puppet shows for centuries, as well as performing with art and music for family and kids."

But, they are limited to six guests at a time; so it might be wise to make a reservation! For reservations, hours of operation, and other information, call 503/233-7723 – or, go online –

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