Description (Brief)
This painted board backdrop is considered the fourth marionette created by Milovsoroff for his play .
This backdrop,named the Hut on Chicken Legs, depicts a wooden house on two stumps and mushrooms. This piece is known as a projection picture . The image is first photographed and then color slides of the scene are projected onto a large, light background that replaces the scenery. This accompanies Koshei the Deathless, Baba Yaga,the wicked witch, and Leyshi the magical villain and jokester.
Milovsoroff was known for his strange but whimsical puppets based on characters from Russian folklore and fairy tales
Milovsoroff called these puppets folklorettes otherwise known as ; sprites, elves, goblins or fairies who lived in an imaginary, forest like kingdom. These stories were passed down through an oral tradition, and often performed on stage as an opera or a ballet. . From 1934-1957 he toured the United States producing puppet shows in museums and children's theaters featuring Russian folk tales
Born in Siberia, Basil Milovsoroff (1906–1992) emigrated to the US in 1927 and graduated from Ohio's Oberlin college with a masters degree. in 1934. Milovsoroff was a member of The Federal Theatre Project which was one of many programs created by President Roosevelt for the New Deal in 1935. The project was developed during the Depression in order to employ jobless theater professionals and make the performing arts available to the vast number of citizens who had little money for entertainment.
Puppets were an integral part of this project and marionette units presented an average of 1200 shows a week in 22 states
Between 1934-1937, the Federal Theater Project units produced over 2700 plays seen by about 30 million people, most of whom had ever seen a play.
In 1954 Milovsorofff taught Russian at Cornell University and in 1954 was named the Chairman of the National Festival of the Puppeteers of America.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
associated person
Milovsoroff, Basil
Milovsoroff, Basil
associated place
United States: Vermont
Physical Description
woo; paint; canvas (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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