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Muppets about to move to Astoria

HensonMay 22, 2013 By Christian Murray

Astoria, NY: The Museum of Moving Image is creating a new gallery devoted to the works of Jim Henson, the puppeteer and creator of the Muppets, following the donation of nearly 400 puppets, costumes and other props from Henson’s family.

The new gallery will be 2,200 sqf. and will be located on the museum’s second floor. It is expected to open in the winter of 2014-2015.

The puppets and props will feature every major film and television production on which Henson played a key creative role during his lifetime–that ended in 1990. These include Sam and Friends, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. At the heart of the collection are puppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Ernie, Bert, Count von Count, Gobo Fraggle, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf.

The museum aims to raise $5 million for the project, of which $2.75 million is going to be provided by New York City.

“It’s only fitting that this extraordinary collection of puppets, costumes, props and more should find a home in New York,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a statement. “Anyone who’s watched an episode of Sesame Street sees the inspiration provided by the vibrant neighborhoods and characters that make our city.”

Cherlyn Henson, daughter of the late Jim Henson, said she was excited that the permanent collection would be housed in the Museum of Moving Image. “NYC was home for the Jim Henson Company for many years,” she said at a news conference at the museum yesterday, adding that Long Island City and is now the home for the Jim Henson Workshop.

Jim Henson’s widow, Jane Henson, died last month at 78. “She loved the Muppet characters as though they were part of her own family,” Cherlyn Henson, said at the news conference.

The Museum of the Moving Image had previously featured the exhibition “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” in 2012. It was the last museum to feature it, after it had a five-year national tour.

The announcement was officially made on Tuesday at a presentation attended by Bloomberg and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Miss Piggy, Gobo Fraggle and Oscar the Grouch were also on hand.

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