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Paper Theaters Unfold in Bruce Exhibit

Before Wii games, Gameboys and Rock Band, 19th-century children could entertain themselves with small tabletop paper theaters. The Bruce Museum will feature these tiny works of art in its new exhibit , "A Child's View: 19th Century Paper Theaters."

According to Mike Horyczun, the Bruce's public relations director, the paper theaters were like puzzles to children. They were equipped with many theatrical elements such as scenery, actors, a dialogue booklet, a scene setting for each act and directions for the movement of each figure.

The popularity of the sophisticated children's toy grew throughout Europe and the United States. The U.S had five major publishers and England had about 50. All of the theaters varied but were mass-produced with the printing press and color lithography of the mid-19th century. Plays included works from Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Hans Christian Anderson.

The exhibit will feature more than 35 paper theaters and their related reading material. It will be run from Saturday through Jan. 30. For more information, call 203-869-0376.

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