Kermit the Frog. Miss Piggy. Elmo. Cookie Monster. The Fraggles. You will soon have a chance to see these and plenty more beloved creatures in the flesh ― or rather, in the fuzz ― thanks to a comprehensive Jim Henson exhibition headed, permanently, to the Museum of Moving Image (MOMI) in New York.
The Museum launched a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday, calling on all Henson buffs to help raise $40,000 to realize the creatively named “Jim Henson Exhibition” in all its glory. And boy did they deliver. In just two days, the museum met its initial mark. We can officially say, the show will happen.
Now they’re hoping to reach their “stretch goal” of $100,000, in order to welcome even more bug-eyed creatures with squeezable noses and unruly mops of hair into their new Queens home.
The permanent MOMI exhibition was first announced in 2013, with help from $2.75 million in backing from New York City, a place many muppets would have called home if they could talk.
“Many of the Muppets who you’ve come to love were made right here in New York City,” Jim’s daughter Cheryl Henson said at the time. “They were sewn, glued, designed and built right here.” The money helped fund a 2,200-square-foot gallery on the museum’s second floor and ensure that it is puppet-proof.
Given the fact that the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is based in Queens, the setting was a perfect spot for the muppets to settle down in.
This next round of fundraising is geared toward the restoration of the puppets themselves, around 40 of which will appear in the exhibition. The crop is any puppet-head’s dream come true, featuring original beasties from all the Henson classics: we’re talking “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.” The delicate creatures are to be spruced up by designers and builders at Henson’s legendary Creature Shop, where they’ll be preserved for future generations to ogle, as well.
If you’re not based in New York, worry not, a traveling version of “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is also slated to go on tour, starting off at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture on May 20.
Clarification: The Center for Puppetry Arts, based in Atlanta, also received a major donation from the family of Jim Henson and has a permanent exhibit devoted to Henson on view. The two exhibitions are not related.