The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre was imported to the U.S. in 1876 as Sweden’s exhibit for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The enchanting Swedish architecture and craftsmanship of the structure, suggestive of a model schoolhouse, caught the eye of Fredrick Law Olmsted, who brought it to Central Park in 1877.
Beginning in 1939, the Cottage served as the home of a marionette theater troupe that traveled across the city performing on playgrounds and school auditoriums. Under the direction of City Parks Foundation, citywide puppet shows in parks continue to this day through the CityParks PuppetMobile.
In 1973 a permanent theater was constructed inside the Cottage, precisely designed for marionette performances. Since then, hundreds of thousands of children and families from around the world have enjoyed its original marionette productions. The Theatre’s productions are based on classic fairy tales and offer an enriching theatrical and educational experience for children ages 3-9. The Cottage is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.