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A Jim Henson Exhibition Is Coming to a City Near You—If You Fund It

The Museum of the Moving Image just launched a Kickstarter with Neil Patrick Harris and other Muppet-lovers to create a permanent collection of over 175 Jim Henson artifacts.

Beckett Mufson

Beckett Mufson

Images courtesy the Museum of the Moving Image

Jim Henson, the legendary creator of Sesame Street and the Muppets, could get a brand new traveling exhibition. That is, if a Kickstarter campaign launched today by the Museum of the Moving Image is successful. The museum will take it on the road for the benefit of Henson fans and potential donors around the world, provided they can reach their $40,000 crowdfunding goal. 

Their Jim Henson Exhibition spans the scope of his entire career, from his start in television in the 50s and 60s to pushing the boundaries of puppet-based filmmaking later on in life. A donation from the Henson family has already provided hundreds of original puppets, prototypes, sketches, behind the scenes photographs and video, and interactive installations explaining the concepts of puppetry. The Museum of the Moving Image says the high cost goes towards restoring and preserving these puppets, and to fuel the process of physically installing the work.

Noted Jim Henson fan Neil Patrick Harris introduces the Kickstarter campaign, which also includes interviews with Miss Piggy designer Bonnie Erickson and MoMI Executive Director Carl Goodman. 

"While Jim Henson may be best known as the inventor of the Muppets and so many other memorable characters, our exhibition takes a more holistic view of his contributions as a producer, director, innovator, and creative leader who worked with an impressive team of collaborators," Goodman says in a statement. "In that spirit, we are honored to be working with the designers and builders at the legendary Jim Henson's Creature Shop to restore and preserve the puppets for future generations. And we are excited to be partnering with Kickstarter on reaching our goal of presenting the new permanent Jim Henson exhibition."

This isn't the first exhibition of Henson's work since he died in 1990. In 2015 the Worlds of Puppetry Museum at Atlanta's Center of Puppetry Arts launched with a show dedicated to Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Fozzie Bear, and the rest.

A donation to the Kickstarter can get you anything from a ticket to the opening reception of the show for $25, to thousands of dollars worth of Henson collectors items and memorabilia. There are also rare experiences and artworks, such as a $7,500 tour of the Creature Shop or a $10,000 set of three Henson lithographs.

The permanent collection will live at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, while the traveling version kicks off at the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture May 20. Visit the Kickstarter campaign, open until May 11, here.

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