To tell you honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I visited this museum. I just saw it on the list of the places to see on the tourist information cum Lyon map that I have so I visited it. Well that’s after I got lost a couple of times since Lyon, as previously mentioned, does not have clear signage for directions and tourist spots. I followed the way to Rue St Georges which as per my map, is the location of this museum. When I arrived in the small street of St Georges, I walked back and forth and couldn’t find any signs of a museum along that road. Well that was because I was expecting to see a huge building since it is, after all, a museum. Right? I didn’t realize that I was standing right in front of it which looks like an abandoned shop from the outside. I went inside not knowing if I was in the right place, I just saw some automated dolls from their window display so I thought that it must be it. A friendly French girl greeted me and told me that I was in the right place when I asked her if it was the Musee Automates. She asked for my Lyon City Card which basically served as my ticket to enter the Museum. She then proceeded to explain to me what the museum is all about.
It used to be a workshop for automatic puppets that they used to sell during Christmas for window displays. It then became a museum in 1991 to showcase their handmade puppets. She explained with great pride on how an automatic puppet is made from the mechanical and motorized body, to latex molding and face painting and of course dressing and accessorizing. After the short introduction, it’s a self-guided tour. I was the only person in the museum at the time and going around it by myself, surrounded by moving puppets creeped me out. I learned that day that I was afraid of puppets. It felt like I’m walking in a haunted house and I had to be so aware of my surroundings as one of those puppets might jump on me or something. Seriously, I was THISCLOSE to just running out of the place or worst yet, asking the girl at the reception desk to walk along with me inside the museum. LOL.
What exactly is so special about this museum? Well, puppet-phobia aside, it is a very interesting visit I must say. It’s not just about the moving puppets, it’s about the scenes that these puppets reenact on the displays. I do believe that they change the themes of the displays but I went there, it was about the history of Lyon, popular tales and a feature of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. I’m not an artsy type of a person but I do know a bit of art here and there. I only know two of his really popular works: The Milkmaid and The Girl with A Pearl Earring. I was ecstatic when I saw a display of a moving puppet depicting these works:
The whole visit in this museum will probably not last more than 45 minutes depending of course on how long you will look at those moving puppets before it scare you. 🙂
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