Museum News




Yamasong: March of the Hollows comes to the Valentinetti Puppet Museum!

Sam Koji Hale is an award-winning artist and puppet filmmaker.  He is the recipient of the 2014 UNIMA Citation of Excellence and DragonCon's 2010 Best Animated Film for the fantasy short film "Yamasong", a Handmade Puppet Dreams (HMPD) film.  Sam has produced over 20 puppet short films for the HMPD film series created by Heather Henson's IBEX Puppetry Inc.

 Sam recently wrote, directed and designed the all-puppet fantasy feature film "Yamasong: March of the Hollows", released in the spring of 2019. Sam has nearly two decades of animation and puppet film experience, working for Cartoon Network, Disney Jr, Disney XD, and Amazon Prime.


"Yamasong: March of the Hollows"

Watch the official sizzle trailer HERE:


LA Times writes - "Director Sam Koji Hale brings a vivid imagination and rich visual texture to the screen... the look of 'Yamasong' is enough to recommend it. The puppetry's lo-fi but remarkably expressive, with craftsmanship and design that puts most computer animation to shame."

Bremerton Mayor Honors Valentinetti & Museum Curator


On September 24, 2011 the Board of AVPM/ECT hosted a public celebration  in honor of the 90th birthday of Aurora Valentinetti and the launching of the Fall Season of programs, exhibits and performances. About 50 supporters, friends, family and former students gathered to honor the Museum's namesake for her 50 years of teaching and influence in the field of puppetry and children's theatre. Some of the former students Valentinetti had not seen in decades. Highlights of the afternoon were the surprise presentations by Bremerton Mayor, Patty Lent of two awards.  One presented to Aurora Valentinetti and a second award to Museum Curator, Stanley Hess.


A carefully guarded secret by the event planners was the presentation by the Mayor of a second award to the Museum Curator, Stanley Hess.

The award to Valentinetti:


"Mayor & City Council Appreciation Award presented to Aurora Valentinetti. 

We would like to recognize the long time commitment you have made to the City of Bremerton from your first donation of marionettes, hand puppets, rod puppets and more that equal the 1,000 unit collection enjoyed by children and adults today.  The culture you have introduced not only is a visual showcase, but your Evergreen Children's Theatre provided education and entertainment for residence and visitors from around the world.  This award is presented as we appreciate your contributions and celebrate your 90th birthday.



Patty Lent, Mayor

Will Maupin, City Council President"

Curator Stanley Hess was especially moved that his 101 year old mother, Kathryne Hess was present to witness the event.  Without her support of the curator, the Museum would probably not be celebrating its 12th anniversary.


The award to Hess:


"Mayor's Citizen Recognition Award Presented to Stanley Hess: 

For your outstanding dedication and service to the City of Bremerton through the promotion, marketing and expansion of the Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum.  You have continued to expose awareness of the Museum on the national and global level.  Your recognition in Cambridge Who's Who enhances your position in our community.  Thank you for an excellent contribution and continued caring of an important cultural asset for the citizens throughout the State.


Signed: Patty Lent, Mayor"



Stanley W. Hess, founding Museum Curator of the Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum, has been honored by the international directory Cambridge Who' s Who 2011-2012 as a Professional of the Year representing "Educational Theatre Arts".  Hess has a long history of museum service primarily in library and visual resources within the art museum field.  His career has included the Seattle Art Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Nelson-Adkins Museum (Kansas City, MO).  The latter he served as Head Librarian during a pivotal period of that institution's history.  Upon returning to his home town community, Hess continued his support of many local non-profits, having served on the Board of the Kitsap County Historical Society & Museum, as well as serving on the Board of Evergreen Children's Theatre and as founding Museum Curator of the Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum.