The Museum of Art’s Annual Holiday Open House takes place on Sunday, December 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Gift of Jane Baumann, 1978
I’ll be there. I hope to see you too because I need your help. Who am I? Why I’m Miguelito, the faithful burro. I’m a puppet. I belong to Juan and Rosina, his wife. We’re all puppets, part of the marionette family created by New Mexico artist Gustave Baumann. During the holiday season, we perform along with Freckles and Warts, duende twins, who make mischief while everyone else tries to make merry.
What do I mean by mischief? Well, one year, Freckles and Warts took me, Miguelito. While Rosina fretted, instead of baking biscochitos, Juan had to stop what he was doing and find me!
During this year’s puppet show – there will be two performances directed by Barbara Hatch – Warts will be on stage along with the rest of us, while Freckles hides in the museum. He was asked to hide, so children attending this year’s events could look for him on a Treasure Hunt.
Gift of Jane Baumann, 1978
If you haven’t been to one of our performances before, you’ll need some clues if you want to find him. Freckles is a little guy with strings attached. He’s named after the freckles on his face. He looks just like his twin, Warts. How do you tell them apart? Look carefully.
Freckles also has a long wooden nose. He’s always sticking his nose into trouble. Maybe he should have been named Nosy. Because he’s a duende, or an elf, he has funny ears. Sharp ears like a Trekkie.
Freckles will be wearing his costume, his duende duds. It’s hard to get cool clothes in small sizes: you don’t want to wear doll’s clothes, but does Freckles have to dress like a lampshade? Lucky for me, I wear fur year round. Freckles also wears a hat that looks like an upside down funnel. See what I mean about mischief?
On the Treasure Hunt, you’ll have to look hard for Freckles. The museum is big, two stories! It’s packed full of art now, too. AND, Freckles and Warts know how to make themselves invisible. That’s right! Thin Air Twins! Poof! They vanish, but they always come back.
What do you do when you find Freckles? Martha Landry, the Museum’s Special Events Person, says the boy or girl who finds Freckles will win a prize. Collect your prize, receive your congratulations, then let me know where you found him.
Before my show biz career, I hauled wood from the mountains down to Burro Alley, so, yes, I could carry a grudge easily, and Freckles and Warts have played tricks on me. But that’s not what this is all about, besides I always forgive them. Underneath their lampshade jerseys, their wooden hearts are made of gold. Trust me; it’s puppet anatomy.
Anyway, as Miguelito, the faithful burro, I want to make sure Freckles didn’t make more mischief while he was playing Peek-A-Boo Puppet. The holidays are right around the corner. I want to take some time off. Kick up my heels. Let the reindeer do the heavy lifting from here on out. I want to have fun and plenty of it, and I want you to have plenty of fun, too. So listen. Make your ears as long as mine.
In addition to the two performances of Teatro Duende, Baumann’s Santa Marionette will be in the St. Francis Auditorium. He’ll sit in your lap. If you want your picture taken with Santa, bring your camera or your phone.
I usually give friends and family a Hee-Haw around the holidays, but if anyone needs holiday cards or special gifts, they’re available in the New Mexico Museum and the History Museum gift shops. The Gustave Baumann family not only put on puppet shows each year, Gus and his artist friends created fantastic holiday cards. There’s an exhibit of those cards at the History Museum. A holiday book, Gustave Baumann and Friends Artist Cards From Holidays Past, by Jean Moss and Thomas Leech, is available as well.
For a real treat, check out the videos (below) created by students at the Community College of Santa Fe. The filmmakers have produced a number of videos about us: The Baumann Marionettes. They’re on YouTube. They’re a hoot; guaranteed to make you kick up your heels.
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