The KOLK 17 Collection

Collection as a space for knowledge

Today we understand the collection as a large space for knowledge in motion. It is one of our most urgent priorities, to talk about the objects and to let the objects speak for themselves with various voices.

Interview Antonia Napp

Objects in the KOLK 17 Collection

20,000 International Artefacts

With over 20,000 objects from the field of puppet theatre, KOLK 17 houses one of the five largest collections in Germany and is certainly one of the most important cultural institutions for puppet theatre in Europe. We see the collection as a large space for knowledge which is in perpetual motion and must be accessible to the general public. Therefore, one of our most important goals is to make both the collection and the archive area complete with documents as well as a specialised library available to interested parties via a digital infrastructure. This enables the intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge about the most diverse forms of puppet theatre.

Tagebuch: Puppentheater an der Front

Archive / Documents and Graphics / VDP Play Archive

Comprehensive archive on the subject of puppet theatre

The archive of KOLK 17 houses documents, biography’s, play texts, photos and audio tapes of various puppeteer dynasties whose estates have been incorporated into the collection. In addition, the house archive maps the history of the puppet theatre institutions in the Kolk. Since 2016, the play archive of the Verband deutscher Puppentheater e.V. (Association of German Puppet Theatres) has also been part of the library. (vdp) has also been part of KOLK 17’s specialist library.
Tagebuch: Puppentheater an der Front
"Puppetry international"

Library KOLK 17

Specialist Library

KOLK 17’s specialist library consists mainly of older literature up until around 1980. Recently, however, the library has been systematically supplemented with new publications; gaps are being filled. In 2015 we joined the Common Library Network (GBV) (library code 4009) and entered approx. 3000 titles into the Common Union Catalogue (GVK)

Tagebuch: Puppentheater an der Front

Online Collection

On the way to a digital collection

Since the beginning of 2020, staff from the Collection & Science department have been working intensively on a system that will make the collection, which consists of an amalgamation of approximately 20,000 artefacts, accessible through a pragmatic administration with ‘controlled’ terminologies.  The aim is to create a digital research infrastructure that will also be available as an online collection for external international users.

Tagebuch: Puppentheater an der Front


How do we want to deal with unclear object Biographies?

The archives of museums are not only places where objects are stored. They are spaces of knowledge and repositories of cultural heritage. We would like to open up the KOLK 17 collection to a diverse range of experts in order to re-examine the ‘stored knowledge’ surrounding the objects in the collection. Especially in the case of objects of ‘non-European provenance’, we would like to critically reflect on previous scholarly  knowledge by examining the processes of separation from their cultural context and their subsequent classification . Researching the object biographies is central for us. This includes actively contacting the respective artists or players or their descendants as well as networking with scholars from the respective communities of origin. We work transparently and (self-)critically; disclosing unresolved object provenances and knowledge gaps.

Audio collage: Who’s speaking? © Anna Pfau 

Audio-Collage: Wer spricht? © Anna Pfau 


Puppet theatre & Museum

KOLK 17 Logo weiß

KOLK 17 gGmbH
Figurentheater & Museum

Beckergrube 38-52
23552 Lübeck

Puppet Theatre Mobile Office

Kirchhof St. Petri
23552 Lübeck

Opening Times

Mon and Sun: closed
Tue - Sat: 14:00 - 17:00

Executive Director,
Museum Director

Dr. Antonia Napp

Puppet Theatre Director

Stephan Schlafke

Media relations

Janin Thies