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Jim Henson’s Fantastic World handmade and vintage goods


There aren’t many things I am sure of these days, but one thing is certain: the world needs more puppets. Such an affirmation became apparent to me when I had the incredible opportunity to tour the set of Sesame Street. As you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled, talking my mom’s ear off about how I would get to see Oscar’s trashcan and Grover’s stoop. The tour went smoothly, until two security guards politely asked me to remove myself from Big Bird’s nest. I know what you’re thinking: “What an unruly child.” Actually, I was 27 years old, thank you very much.

There’s no shame space here. If you’re like me — someone who attends screenings of Pixar cartoons with an entire box of Kleenex, recognizing you may need therapy for empathizing more with animated animals than humans — there is probably some corner of your heart reserved for the adoration of Jim Henson’s Muppets. Fortunately, to satiate the fans of tooled felt and beady eyeballs, The Smithsonian has curated a touring retrospective entitled Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, currently stationed at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

The Smithsonian Institution

The retrospective begins in Jim Henson’s days as a young boy with a creative clan. “When I was a child, my mother’s family would gather at my grandmother’s house,” he explained. “They would tell a tale, and somebody would try to top it.” Dozens of Henson’s sketches show his evolution in style and subject matter, beginning with tame landscapes and portraits that eventually developed into a taste for the wild, wacky and macabre. Yet it was his break into local television in 1954 when he discovered and cultivated his love for puppetry. In subsequent years, he created the first iteration of Kermit, cut from his mother’s old coat. Had the coat not been green, Henson admitted that a frog might not have been the creature that is now considered the leader of The Muppets.

The exhibition reveals several facts that even I, a self-proclaimed Muppet fanatic, did not know. For instance, a single piece of paper bearing an architectural rendering is the only proof of Henson’s interest in building a night club. With the name Cyclia, Henson’s night club was infused with his love for psychedelic art in the late ’60s. Had it been built, it would’ve been the trippiest place on the planet. Other stand-outs in the exhibition are the early drawings of Big Bird. Henson initially struggled with building puppets that could be operated by a person from within. In Big Bird, he found the answer — the puppet operator’s right arm extends up into the neck of the bird, with the right hand controlling the mouth movements. A small TV screen is mounted within Big Bird’s belly, allowing the operator to see what he’s doing from the audience’s perspective. Henson desperately tried to build a version of the puppet where Big Bird’s knees bent backwards, much like a real bird. Though he gave up such aspirations, his sketches in the exhibition are proof of his wild determination.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Jim Henson’s Fantastic World is seeing the early days of Henson’s career when he created television advertisements. It was a time when commercials were just plain fun — coffee companies had no problem being represented by a pistol wielding fluff ball, as seen in Henson’s work for Wilkins Coffee. Yet a personal favorite would have to be a spot for La Choy Chow Mein, featuring a delightfully destructive dragon (above). “We tried to sell things by making people laugh,” Henson explained.

The biggest compliment I can give to the exhibition and its curators is that I walked away feeling like I’d just had a conversation with Jim Henson himself. I understood why Frank Oz, Henson’s long-time collaborator responsible for creating and originating Miss Piggy, Cookie Monster, Fozzie and others, recently described The Muppets as “affectionate anarchy.” I also felt inspired to run out and build puppets, maybe even sketch my own fur-ball creatures with googly eyeballs. Now, with the exhibition situated in Astoria, Queens, possibly the most culturally diverse pocket in the U.S., never has there been more proof of Henson’s lasting influence. Multiple languages may swirl around you as you tour the museum gallery, but the laughter is universal.

More Noted Posts | Puppet Category

Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.

  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando says:

    Brilliant! One of my all-time favorite artists!

    4 years ago

  • dianecostanza

    dianecostanza says:

    I remember my brother's graduation from Fordham. Jim Henson gave a speech after he received an honorary doctorate from Fordham. He was a great man and a pioneer for children's television. I raised my son on Sesame Street.

    4 years ago

  • whichgoose

    whichgoose says:

    SO AWESOME!!! That commercial is hilarious!

    4 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy says:

    absolutely love jim henson and the muppets! so brilliant and such an inspiration... and i learned how to write watching sesame street. i still remember frantically searching for a crayon and writing out my first word on the first surface i could find, my mom's sewing machine. i wrote on a lot of surfaces that day. :D

    4 years ago

  • BookGlassesBlue

    BookGlassesBlue says:

    Got to see part of a traveling show in Seattle at the Sci-Fi museum that had so many sketches and props from the muppets, dark crystal, and others. It was packed but so fun. There were some small walls in the exhibit that had been "papered" with fluffy, muppet fur-like material. Wonderful to see :)

    4 years ago

  • Aquanetta

    Aquanetta says:

    love all the character design sketches. Jim Henson is such an innovator.

    4 years ago

  • proteales

    proteales says:

    I am so excited to see Gobo on the Etsy front page!

    4 years ago

  • bluedogrose

    bluedogrose says:

    Wonderful, I ♥ Henson.

    4 years ago

  • SeptemberHouse

    SeptemberHouse says:

    Thank you for sharing this tribute. Jim Henson was truly an artist who changed the world and who will always be an inspiration. And YES, I agree - more puppets please! :)

    4 years ago

  • playmemamacrafts

    playmemamacrafts says:

    Proud to be raising a second generation of Sesame Street fans, and am very curious to see the new Muppet movie coming out this fall...great article, I'm thinking a road trip to New York is in my future! Thank you...

    4 years ago

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns says:

    A world without puppets. Are you kidding? And I remember Dark Crystal. What a great movie of our times, then! Thanks for posting. This was great.

    4 years ago

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt says:

    he was ahead of his time .. a true artist and lover of fun! thanks for this lovely article, I use puppets at my "day job" , they trans form like no other medium can ~

    4 years ago

  • GypsymoonChain

    GypsymoonChain says:

    Jim Henson and Fraggle Rock were the most awesome influences on childhood ever.

    4 years ago

  • VivisEnchantedCorner

    VivisEnchantedCorner says:

    How wonderful, it kind of brought tears to my eyes, such a magic street, love sesame street, I grow up with them in Colombia (Sesame Street in Espanol) so cool, such a bright and wild imagination!

    4 years ago

  • bjhissong

    bjhissong says:

    Thanks for posting about this! We will definitely visit! I can't imagine my childhood without Sesame Street and the Muppets... my sister and I even secretly watched it in college because of the adult humor and band guests! When I became an art teacher, I always included Jim Henson as an influence and he passed away during my first year of teaching. My kids grew up watching them too. To this day I covet my sister's Muppet Puppet and wish she still had it!

    4 years ago

  • SuburbanYeti

    SuburbanYeti says:

    Holy Cow!!! I have to see this exhibit! I don't know who would love it more, me or my 21 month old daughter. "Emitt Otter's Jug Band Christmas" may be THE best Henson work ever. Easily the best Christmas special you'll ever see. Even better than Charlie Brown's.

    4 years ago

  • SudsNSuch

    SudsNSuch says:

    I LOVE the Muppets and Fraggles! I just went to see some of the Muppets on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. We're taking a trip to NY sometime soon. I'll have to add that exhibit to my list of places to see!

    4 years ago

  • kawaiifriendscafe

    kawaiifriendscafe says:

    I can't imagine growing up without watching the creations of Jim Henson! I was even more influenced by his work as an adult and can't wait to pass the love to my own children! Thanks for this amusing post. brought back so many memories!

    4 years ago

  • PearlAmourJewels

    PearlAmourJewels says:

    Brings back childhood memories!

    4 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat says:

    The Muppets & Fraggle Rock have been a couple of my all-time fave TV shows, & I loved The Dark Crystal too. Many happy childhood memories of the whole family watching the Muppets together & falling about laughing. And the famous guests... everyone who was anyone HAD to get on the Muppets to be overwhelmed with their own special brand of anarchy. Love it!

    4 years ago

  • jadeflower

    jadeflower says:

    Jim Henson is one of my heros! I got to visit the exhibit when it was in Seattle at the EMP, and it was just wonderful! He had such a creative mind. My favorite part was being in a "music video" set where you could be a muppeteer, So fun!

    4 years ago

  • ruthnore

    ruthnore says:

    Love it! I grew up with a puppet maker! My mother has always loved Jim Henson! I remember her crying when he died. She still has the muppet theme song as her ring tone. Great article! Great memories. ^_^

    4 years ago

  • zenceramics

    zenceramics says:

    Thank you for sharing. We do need more puppets! Jim Henson was a great artist.

    4 years ago

  • studiotuesday

    studiotuesday says:

    Really interesting to see his sketches. And love the commercial!

    4 years ago

  • JillMariesPuppets

    JillMariesPuppets says:

    I went to the University of Connecticut and got my BFA in puppetry! For all those who are eager for the greatest four year college experience thinkable, consider UConn. Jim Henson saw that the world of puppetry could take entertainment to fabulous places. Let's keep the momentum going!

    4 years ago

  • windywinona

    windywinona says:

    I grew up on Sesame Street, and raised my kids on it too. Would love to be close enough to see this exhibit. What a wonderful guy!

    4 years ago

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    ThePolkadotMagpie says:

    I agree....MORE puppets!

    4 years ago

  • HaroldandMod

    HaroldandMod says:

    Oh, Jim. My...... end...less. Loooovve!

    4 years ago

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage says:

    i love jim henson. such a foward, abstract thinker!

    4 years ago

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez says:

    definitely more puppets.............& so thankful for Jim Henson!

    4 years ago

  • JulieBinmore

    JulieBinmore says:

    I recommend Street Gang, a great book about Jim Henson and the muppets! What innovation! So great!

    4 years ago

  • CardsandHeartsbyJane

    CardsandHeartsbyJane says:

    Absolutely Love Jim Henson and The Muppet Show - I watched the show as a child and still watch it today as an adult. It's full of chaos and anarchy, but also thoughtfulnessand a wish to create a better world. Harry Belafontes number "Turn the World Around" with the African Masks is a perfect example.

    4 years ago

  • echoartworks

    echoartworks says:

    Jim Henson got me into college...I wrote my personal statement about how he instilled in me the sense of wonder...miss him alot!

    4 years ago

  • RitaVanTassel

    RitaVanTassel says:

    I almost died when I saw this post!!! I am a MAD fan for Jim Henson and especially The Muppet Show! I have a grand collection of vintage Muppet items and expose my nephews and students to his work whenever possible. Henson was a genius and will always be a personal creative inspiration. Well done!

    4 years ago

  • Corkycrafts

    Corkycrafts says:

    Brings back childhood memories! I can't help but sing Mah-Na Mah-Na song!

    4 years ago

  • paulofnavarone

    paulofnavarone says:

    dont puppets just make you feel good?

    4 years ago


    DUEALBERI says:

    mana mana :)

    4 years ago

  • loonarfox

    loonarfox says:

    I love Boober!

    4 years ago

  • chopperandbubbles

    chopperandbubbles says:

    Love watching Sesame Street with my 2 year old son. I don't know who was more excited to see Sesame Street Live, me or him! You can't find great programming like that anymore.

    4 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    Jim Henson, awesome! I was obsessed with Fraggle Rock as a child of the 80s :D

    4 years ago

  • VivekaVee

    VivekaVee says:

    The Dark Crystal was my earliest inspiration.

    4 years ago

  • LittleLadyIrish

    LittleLadyIrish says:

    He has always been an inspiration in my life, and adored by all in my home! Monsters Are People Too!

    4 years ago

  • FancifulRelics

    FancifulRelics says:

    One of my favorite things is (original) Sesame Street! This had some great links and commercials, thanks!

    4 years ago

  • squirrelonaledgetop

    squirrelonaledgetop says:

    I remember being a really little kid and getting excited when the Muppet show would come on. I may be in my early 30's, but I don't think I'll ever out grow them!

    4 years ago

  • ikabags

    ikabags says:

    Wohoo Muppet show ! He is awesome ! Thanks so much or great post and your time ! Paris:02:00

    4 years ago

  • wearethemonkeez

    wearethemonkeez says:

    Interesting...I love Beaker the muppet. :)

    4 years ago

  • FreshCrayons

    FreshCrayons says:

    I saw this exhibit while in Pennsylvania (USA) I am a big time fan of Jim Henson! He's my hero :)

    4 years ago

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake says:

    Love this article and the point that laughter is universal :)

    4 years ago

  • SophieJoes

    SophieJoes says:

    Jim Henson ROCKS!

    4 years ago

  • theroyal

    theroyal says:

    it really is fantastic

    4 years ago

  • twinkbeauty

    twinkbeauty says:

    Truly one of the best this world has ever seen. His appeal was and is universal, and his work has the ability to seem both thoughtful and effortless at the same time. We will always love you Jim!

    4 years ago

  • JulieAbrams

    JulieAbrams says:

    What a lovely article! Thank you so much. I will plan on making the trip to Queens!

    4 years ago

  • jungledread

    jungledread says:

    One of my biggest creative inspirations! Jim Henson is the bomb. There was a radio show that did a program "Muppet show, or performance art" The radio hosts would describe a scenario and listeners had to guess if it was art or if it was from the muppet show. It was much harder than you'd think. Henson has such a mix of surreal & dadaism in his work and characters. Love you Jim!!

    4 years ago

  • rejive

    rejive says:


    4 years ago

  • SewMuchMoreDecor

    SewMuchMoreDecor says:

    I love Fraggle Rock! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    4 years ago

  • actionjackson

    actionjackson says:

    I grew up on Jim Henson, Fraggle Rock included. This warms my heart. Thank you for posting this.

    4 years ago

  • tripperdungan

    tripperdungan says:

    Awe I love love love Fraggle Rock. RIP Jim. Make 'em talk in the sky.

    4 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:


    4 years ago

  • poorlittlelamb

    poorlittlelamb says:

    The Smithsonian did a road show tour to California a bunch of years back. When I came to the Kermit the Frog display case I teared upand just about lost it completley. Thinking I was being silly I looked around and noticed several other people my age with tears rolling down their face at the site of the frog. I hope Jim Henson knew how much he touched people.

    4 years ago

  • val912

    val912 says:

    I absolutely love the Muppets!! I miss Jim Henson. :(

    4 years ago

  • TokyoTomo

    TokyoTomo says:

    Awww I love Jim Henson and Fraggle Rock! Wish I could go to this exhibit. Thanks for posting this!

    4 years ago

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery says:

    The old Dragon clip is just great!

    4 years ago

  • PointsArt

    PointsArt says:

    Oh how I love the muppets so much. I walked down the aisle in my wedding to Kermit's "Rainbow Connection!" And I so relate to empathizing more with animated animals (or real animals for that matter) than humans. My husband thinks I'm a crazy person.

    4 years ago

  • fbstudiovt

    fbstudiovt says:

    Ok, as someone who studied puppetry in college (theater majors of the world unite!) I NEED to see this exhibit! Thanks for posting about this!!!

    4 years ago

  • GlitzandPaper

    GlitzandPaper says:

    I love the muppet show! It still makes me laugh hysterically! Jim Henson was a genius, there were joke I didn't get when I was a kid on that show that I get now! Can't forget fraggle rock!

    4 years ago

  • ToBeLovely1

    ToBeLovely1 says:

    I love the Muppets!

    4 years ago

  • MarianneCollinsArt

    MarianneCollinsArt says:

    Wonderful Great artist

    4 years ago

  • Jashme

    Jashme says:

    Love love love.

    4 years ago

  • WalterSilva

    WalterSilva says:

    Love this Blog post! so sweet!

    4 years ago

  • MargaretMeyer

    MargaretMeyer says:

    He is and will always be my hero.

    4 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage says:

    Great! Graduated from RISD 1991 and wife was speaker! Such a wonderful, creative person! 1969 born along with Sesame Street!

    4 years ago

  • baublesnfripperies

    baublesnfripperies says:

    Wow! I want to see this exhibit!

    4 years ago

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads says:

    I grew up with Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Fraggles. I'm so grateful, that with DVD's and YouTube, and great vintage finds on Etsy, I can share his fantastic imagination with my daughters.

    4 years ago

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree says:

    I really liked reading the background of Jim Henderson and your view of his exhibition. I especially enjoyed the part where you were found in "Big Bird's" nest at 27 years old (when you went on the Sesame Street tour)! Hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

    4 years ago

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana says:

    His work is so amazing. He reached kids all around the world.

    4 years ago

  • BeaumontStudio

    BeaumontStudio says:

    More puppets, Where do I sign!? The opening song to Fraggle Rock sends a blast of puppet euphoria down my spine!

    4 years ago

  • chewytulip

    chewytulip says:

    MUPPETS! I am so excited. I think I just figured out what I want to do on my birthday this year! Thanks for posting this! :)

    4 years ago

  • KrauseHaus

    KrauseHaus says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I always loved and still do LOVE The Muppets. Miss Piggy was the original Diva ;o) Hi-Yaaaaa!

    4 years ago

  • thesleepingdog

    thesleepingdog says:

    warm fuzzy memories. ...

    4 years ago

  • yourinnerpeacock

    yourinnerpeacock says:

    All I ever wanted to be was a Muppiteer.....

    4 years ago

  • yourinnerpeacock

    yourinnerpeacock says:

    also I've made my dad cry twice in my life... When we danced to Rainbow Connection at my wedding, and this christmas... I gave him the first season of the Muppetshow and my entire extended family sat down and watched it.

    4 years ago

  • MarshaNealStudio

    MarshaNealStudio says:

    Love this!!!

    4 years ago

  • beliz82

    beliz82 says:

    I grow up watching Sesame Street !! Great article !!!

    4 years ago

  • lemleonard

    lemleonard says:

    I am MAD about all things Jim Henson and always dreamed of becoming a puppeteer as a child. My artwork is deeply influenced by the wild, feathered and brilliantly coloured creatures seen on the Muppet Show. I would love to one day, meet Jim Henson! It would be absolutely brilliant if the exhibition went global!!

    4 years ago

  • tinyoyster

    tinyoyster says:

    I am one seriously BIG Henson fan! This is such a good article, I would love to see the exhibition, bring it to England! Amazing work from an amazing man who has a huge influence on my work and inspired me from the age of about 2! :D

    4 years ago

  • stephaniemonroe

    stephaniemonroe says:

    What can I say about Jim Henson? He put the joy of childhood somewhere in my heart that will never die. Growing up with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the rest of the gang, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street of course, I felt as free as any child would to express myself without limit. It was okay to be different and not follow the norm. Creativity was a forefront and laughter right beside it. To this day I get super excited everytime I see or hear anything Jim Henson and love the fact that I can travel down memory lane with my daughter too.

    4 years ago

  • TheWindowArtisan

    TheWindowArtisan says:

    Great posts. Most people say Jim Henson made puppets. Sorry but to me he created personalities beautifully, textiles a medium.

    4 years ago

  • BrooklynDigs

    BrooklynDigs says:

    I love this blog entry! As a life-long Fraggle Rock and Emmett Otter fan, i am Making it a priority to go to the museum next week and check it out. RIP Jim Henson.

    4 years ago

  • ericawalker

    ericawalker says:

    Thanks for this. I too am a huge Henson admirer. I may just have to make the trip before the show leaves NY.

    4 years ago

  • reinojacheguei

    reinojacheguei says:

    I've always been a great fan of Henson work. Thanks for this post

    4 years ago

  • wolfmansmummy

    wolfmansmummy says:

    What a beautiful, gentle man he was. I always admired his work and ethics and still buy, sell and covet tiny muppets. They ALWAYS make me smile. Thank you!

    4 years ago

  • KimsVintageDesigns

    KimsVintageDesigns says:

    Growing up my favorites were Fraggle Rock, Emmet Otter & the Jugband Christmas and the Labyrinth. My children loved watching Sesame St. in the late 90's, as well. I'm not able to make it to the exhibit, but am thankful to Jim Henson for some great childhood memories and the ability to pass these on to my children and most likely, theirs.

    4 years ago

  • TreasuryShop

    TreasuryShop says:

    Great article, if anyone is interested I have a wonderful Big Bird cup in my shop. It is from Gorham Fine China produced a line of six Sesame Street cups.

    4 years ago

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom says:

    LOVE puppets and the muppets when I was a kid. I still love them. Great article.

    4 years ago

  • Funklicious

    Funklicious says:

    I have all seasons of the Muppets and Fraggle Rock on DVD. LOVE.

    4 years ago

  • BoondockG

    BoondockG says:

    Great read on a great artist.

    4 years ago

  • tripperdungan

    tripperdungan says:

    I watched a video of Bigbird speaking at his memorial and I cried. Jim Henson was so inventive I'm sure I underestimate his influence not only on my art but on my humor and morality. A beautiful person indeed.

    4 years ago

  • unflappableproducts

    unflappableproducts says:

    Excellent review and story-I am there! I am a big big Henson fan-you and I have a lot in common- (the tissues at animated movies!) I sometimes lose faith in our society's future but when I see this I still have hope..... Because his work is still loved and supported by so many and will live on.... hopefully forever!

    4 years ago

  • mamif

    mamif says:

    pure awesomeness

    4 years ago

  • bittersweetz

    bittersweetz says:

    In 8th grade we were given a year-long project to research a successful figure in a career that we would ultimately like to pursue. I chose Jim Henson, and 15 years later I still proudly stand by that choice. He is a master of creativity who has educated children and entertained adults alike (and has obviously inspired countless artists as well!) Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Now I just have to get myself to Queens! :)

    4 years ago

  • designlab443

    designlab443 says:

    I love JIm Henson, his work will last forever!

    4 years ago

  • NowInTechnicolor

    NowInTechnicolor says:

    What a fantastic article! I'm a big squid when it comes to all things Henson. Not only did I grow up watching a ton of their of tv shows/movies but have had family and friends that have worked for them as well! Heck, one of my friends is friends with one of Henson's daughters. Even with as jaded some people in the film industry can be I still know so many in the business (myself totally included) that still get giddy for Henson's characters. : D

    4 years ago

  • BirdiesCozyNest

    BirdiesCozyNest says:

    Fantastic! Thank you! :)

    4 years ago

  • TheHookery

    TheHookery says:

    My inspiration! Puppets and Muppets alike!

    4 years ago

  • kirabiggs

    kirabiggs says:

    All of his work is creative and unique but I particularly love Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Those actually scared me a bit as a kid but I still loved them even then. Besides, I was named after the Gelfling - Kira. How awesome is that? =)

    4 years ago

  • meowmrmanners

    meowmrmanners says:

    I love this post! Thanks for writing about one of my favorite people. Love that man. I just finished my first polyfoam, muppet-style puppet back in March. I have no formal training, but I think he came out pretty good regardless! I understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making one of these little guys...

    4 years ago

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord says:

    I was greatly influenced by his later work. When he started experimenting with dark folklore and mythology like in The Storyteller and Labyrinth. Jim Henson is still one of my heroes and his work will always be an inspiration to us all.

    4 years ago

  • orleansapothecary

    orleansapothecary says:

    what an endearing article! i have always adored jim henson and his muppets. my favourite is emmett otter's jugband christmas. it's like the gift of the magi, but set in the country with bluegrass music. the "outtakes" in the bonus features area are so funny. it really shows how much fun they all had doing their jobs. something that is very inspiring to a house full of artists. cheers, friends!

    4 years ago

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord says:

    As you can see, his influence still stands today. In this image from Jim Henson's workshop. The Halosians from the hit series Farscape are basically the same thing as the Skeksis from the Dark Crystal.

    4 years ago

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord says:

    Oops, forgot the pic...

    4 years ago

  • timssally

    timssally says:

    i saw this exhibit when it came to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock a few years ago. my favorite exhibit to date!! love this article.

    4 years ago

  • midsummereve

    midsummereve says:

    Watched the first Sesame Street when I was 4 years old, been hooked ever since. Jim Henson was a genius!!!

    4 years ago

  • ShirlBCreations

    ShirlBCreations says:

    Jim Henson was one of the greatest! I won't miss this exhibit.

    4 years ago

  • andijoy10

    andijoy10 says:

    I saw this exhibit twice when it was in Atlanta, I wish it could have stayed forever. His college posters and the short film made the biggest impact on me. I loved Kermit and company already, but I realized that my love of Kermit was actually a crush on Jim after seeing the exhibit.

    4 years ago

  • RobotsAreAwesome

    RobotsAreAwesome says:

    I saw the touring exhibit when it was here in Orlando, FL. Sad it didn't have more actual original muppets on display, but I was surprised at how big they were and all his graphic design work.

    4 years ago

  • artworksbycarol

    artworksbycarol says:

    Loved the MUPPET show evey week! Henson is so very creative.

    4 years ago

  • bloodsweatandthread

    bloodsweatandthread says:

    Visited the Kermit the frog museum in Leland, Mississippi. Very cool little place... Looks like somewhere Kermit would live(guess tha'ts why it's known as his birth place) and Jim's. Henson was and still is the man.

    4 years ago

  • DixSterling

    DixSterling says:

    Love the muppets. I had the extreme pleasure of working with Jim Henson's daughter several years ago - terrific lady. Duh, of course.

    4 years ago

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen says:

    what a great article. & what a genius he was!

    4 years ago

  • peachlandvintage

    peachlandvintage says:

    The love of my life.

    4 years ago

  • StringUsAlong

    StringUsAlong says:

    As a Wimbly groupie my heart jumped at seeing the fraggles on the front page. Oh to be in Queens! With two new grandbabies I can't wait to share my old video tapes of the fraggles!

    4 years ago

  • TheGraveyardGirls

    TheGraveyardGirls says:

    I'm such a fan <3 i grew up watching all of his shows! I really enjoyed seeing the sketches!

    4 years ago

  • Ragsoul

    Ragsoul says:

    Fraggle all the way

    4 years ago

  • inthewineroom

    inthewineroom says:

    Wonderful article and I agree the man was genius. So sad that I missed this exhibit when it was in Chicago

    4 years ago

  • YourlittleCupcake

    YourlittleCupcake says:

    The muppets are an inspiration fo my life. Thank you for posting this. I love the video too!

    4 years ago

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC says:

    This is in my neighborhood - can't wait to see it!

    4 years ago

  • terribleterrier

    terribleterrier says:

    Jim Henson - My Hero! Everyone should read the book, "It's Not Easy Being Green" -- it's just filled with his wisdom and inspiring ideas on creativity and . . . life!

    4 years ago

  • haroldluvsmaude

    haroldluvsmaude says:

    Thank you Jim, for contributing to the greatest childhood!!! I love you forever!!!

    4 years ago

  • baublesandbeadles

    baublesandbeadles says:

    Great article. I have loved Jim Henson's creative brilliance forever! So inspiring! His early death was a tremendous loss--we might have had another thirty years of his marvelous imaginings. I SO hope this exhibit makes its way to Toronto! P.S. Loved the videos!!!

    4 years ago

  • acuriousbrood

    acuriousbrood says:

    Henson is one of my heroes and I still want to marry Kermit.

    4 years ago

  • fairycardmaker

    fairycardmaker says:

    Jim Henson was brilliant. "... recognizing you may need therapy for empathizing more with animated animals than humans — there is probably some corner of your heart reserved for the adoration of Jim Henson’s Muppets." YOU SAID IT, SISTER!

    4 years ago

  • MEtalTALent

    MEtalTALent says:

    WOW...being so close to NY (PA) I can't wait to visit. Puppetry and animation teaches you so much without one even realizing it. It brings out emotions, inspiration,'s nice to see Jim's legacy lives on!

    4 years ago

  • FunkyFriendsFactory

    FunkyFriendsFactory says:

    awesome post - thanks. : )

    4 years ago

  • quiltsource

    quiltsource says:

    I know I loved Sesame Street as much or more than my little ones did! I asked "Why can't you watch Sesame Street, you're only 16!!!!!! " Hope the Jim Hensen exhibit comes to Michigan!!!! Loved loved loved the Muppets show and movies - my favorite character (other than Grover) is the Swedish Chef!!!

    4 years ago

  • WiddenDream

    WiddenDream says:

    Jim Henson is my hero!!!!!!! A truly inspirational man! His puppets shaped my childhood (and possibly most of my adulthood;). You are immortal to us Jim!!!!!!!

    4 years ago

  • JewelsbyJasmin

    JewelsbyJasmin says:

    Love this! Jim Henson was a genius and I miss him and his magic immensely!

    4 years ago

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 says:

    LMAOOOOO i just watched the cheeps come out of the cheap coffee can in the old ads LMAOOOOOOO

    4 years ago

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 says:

    i just watched the Cheeps come out of the Cheap coffee in the wilkins commercial! LMAOOOO

    4 years ago

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 says: haha this is a continuation of the wilkins ads..theres a great one with ready set bang. lmaooo

    4 years ago

  • DreamCake

    DreamCake says:

    Oh how I wish that nightclub had been built. I'd have been a regular there! :D So much of my work is inspired by nostalgia from my childhood and the Muppets have a special little spot in my inspiration box.

    4 years ago

  • teddydesigner58

    teddydesigner58 says:

    What a wonderful gift he had for imagination. I grew up with Sesame Street with my daughters and now I have another chance with my grand daughter. She hasn't watched Fraggle Rock yet! I am a great fan of all the Muppet movies and so is my grand daughter. Kermit is our favorite. We, my grand daughter and I, are glad that the Henson legacy and inspiration for imagination continues. Long Live…lets pretend!!!

    4 years ago

  • LaBellaJoya

    LaBellaJoya says:

    You had me at Fraggle Rock...

    4 years ago

  • SaffyPig2

    SaffyPig2 says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for bringing back fond memories. Muppets Take Manhattan! "Together Again....."

    4 years ago

  • FullMoonHarvestGifts

    FullMoonHarvestGifts says:

    THE ONE AND ONLY!!!!!!

    4 years ago

  • kamooki

    kamooki says:

    Jim hanson is my favourite... I would have LOVED to get a tour in the jim hanson studios (a dream of mine). My favorite Movie is Labyrinth :) I just wished they had the "fantastic world" around california!

    4 years ago

  • OraclesForest

    OraclesForest says:

    I miss you Jim, Thanks for the cool tour.

    4 years ago

  • Sublimations

    Sublimations says:

    All hail The Muppets and Jim Henson! It is my personal mission to turn as many people into Muppets as I can, and I am VERY dedicated. This looks like the best reason I've ever had to go to Queens. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

    4 years ago

  • beadparty

    beadparty says:

    I LOVE the Muppets! Been a fan for a long ultimate favorite is Sesame Street's "Shiny Happy Monsters" with REM - totally awesome! Thanks for such a fun post -- I NEED to go visit Queens :)

    4 years ago

  • staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca says:

    This was the first summer in a long line of summers that I've not been able to spend at least one week at a puppetry festival somewhere in the US. This exhibit came through Phoenix a few years ago and I had the honor of being guided through it by Dave Goelz. Glad you had a good experience and, YES! The world needs more puppets! If you can't visit the exhibit in Queens (or get out to Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts)--or even if you can, you likely have a lovely local puppet theater run by struggling puppeteers near you. Puppet theaters all over the US are suffering under the economy. Spend a morning watching a puppet show. There are even puppet shows for grown ups! Find a puppet slam near you & share in the joy of puppetry! :) *this has been a public service announcement paid for by the public service announcementville for puppetry awesomeness of love and glory forever amen*

    4 years ago

  • lavenderlemon

    lavenderlemon says:

    <3 thankyou

    4 years ago

  • teetoo

    teetoo says:

    How fortunate you were to see the show! I sure do hope it makes it to Canada! Thanks for a great article Chappell. Oh and in regards to the Sesame Street tour, who could resist jumping into Big Bird's nest? It seems to me, the natural thing to do :)

    4 years ago

  • pouch

    pouch says:

    you've got to love the Muppets!! I went to the Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon when I was a kid and they had a Fozzie Bear puppet on display, he had a sign round his neck saying 'please do no touch' - I was 8 years old, he was one of my idols, so I touched his ear - who wouldn't??!

    4 years ago

  • StampersCraftsGifts

    StampersCraftsGifts says:

    Thanks so much for posting this, I love Jim Henson's work!

    4 years ago

  • irishandmore

    irishandmore says:

    This exhibit was here in our town for about 3 months, and it was fantastic! Truly it crosses all age and cultural barriers. See it if you can!

    4 years ago

  • lilinspirations

    lilinspirations says:

    Love it! I remember watching the muppets growing up. (does that date me?)

    4 years ago

  • peacebird

    peacebird says:

    Who knew Kermit was a coat frog :) The Muppets was my favorite show as a kid! I love all things Jim Henson including my favorite childhood movie The Dark Crystal!

    4 years ago

  • RustBeltThreads

    RustBeltThreads says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting.

    4 years ago

  • SariJ

    SariJ says:

    Thank you of reminding me of this exhibit! I saw it when it was in DC and it was wonderful. It was really inspiring and fun to look at all of his work.

    4 years ago

  • DaveHulteenDesign

    DaveHulteenDesign says:

    I am so excited to go....i can't wait, i consider myself the biggest Muppet fan ever.

    4 years ago

  • skotkincreations

    skotkincreations says:

    I saw the exhibition when it came to Orlando and it really was awesome. If you are in any way a Jim Henson fan, you should definitely check it out. And the new Muppet movie is coming out on my birthday!

    4 years ago

  • Steampunkitis

    Steampunkitis says:

    Yhea muppets! My kids were weaned on 'Fraggle Rock.'

    4 years ago

  • EmuArtTile

    EmuArtTile says:

    Excellent post! Who does not love muppets!

    4 years ago

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop says:

    Right here in Queens! I gotta go!

    4 years ago

  • CharsPlainandFancy

    CharsPlainandFancy says:

    When I was younger I crocheted some fingerpuppets of Sesame Street puppets I think they were pretty cute.

    4 years ago

  • FatCatCrafts

    FatCatCrafts says:

    I can't say enough great things about Jim Henson. Love him so much!! Such an inspiring person. Thanks for posting this!

    4 years ago

  • Sylly

    Sylly says:

    so I saw the exhibit when it was in boston. and I loved it I didnt like that i couldnt take pictures and there wasnt a exhibit book but it was amazing to see jim hensons evolution

    4 years ago

  • mayasideas

    mayasideas says:

    This is so fascinating! =)

    4 years ago

  • loneindy

    loneindy says:

    I miss Jim Henson. He added so much to this world.

    4 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Ha ha thats great! I always loved Sesame Street when I was a kid, I hope this exhibition comes to the UK! :)

    4 years ago

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading says:

    very cool... thanks for sharing!

    4 years ago

  • YellowBugBoutique

    YellowBugBoutique says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful article. I have loved Henson's work ever since I fell in love with Rowlf...I know that really dates me. I often wonderful if he had lived longer, what other great creations he would have given us. Such an incredibly talented man!

    4 years ago

  • ChereneZ

    ChereneZ says:


    4 years ago

  • JennyBaio

    JennyBaio says:

    I adore Jim Henson. I remember where I was when I heard on the radio he had died. So sad! :( I too grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppets. Wish I could see the exhibit. This was a wonderful post! Thank you!!

    4 years ago

  • MyBirdieDesigns

    MyBirdieDesigns says:

    Looking forward to taking my daughter who is almost five to the exhibit!

    4 years ago

  • JakeFSullivan

    JakeFSullivan says:

    Great post, I love the sketches!

    4 years ago

  • 425sqftart

    425sqftart says:

    i love this article!! i've recently been revisiting sesame street with my 22 month old daughter (& i think i watched it with my mom even in high school!!)'s the best! also memories of the muppet show and fraggle rock are deep in my heart! yea! gotta add this exhibit to my list of things to see!:)

    4 years ago

  • poba

    poba says:

    Henson brought such a magical world to life with his puppets. I can't wait to introduce my son to them when he is old enough. Thanks for putting this article together!

    4 years ago

  • afternoontees

    afternoontees says:

    Moving to NYC in a week and now I can't wait to visit this museum!!

    4 years ago

  • JoMacJewels

    JoMacJewels says:

    What a talent Jim Henson had. He added so much fun and excitement to all of our worlds. He will be sadly missed by so many , but what a legacy he left behind. If you love puppets and "make believe" don't miss this exhibit.

    4 years ago

  • GenniandGina

    GenniandGina says:

    I saw a small exhibit of his original Muppets in the Smithsonian in DC in June that I was so excited to see. Looking at this tour schedule, it doesn't seem to be the same show, but it was nice all the same.

    4 years ago

  • StrayNabeeVintage

    StrayNabeeVintage says:

    oh my goodness, that video is great..although I am not so sure using scare tactics to sell La Choy is the best idea. It sure is funny thought.

    4 years ago

  • JonEicher

    JonEicher says:

    I used to work with Barbra Davis who was Jim Henson's costume designer. She did Miss Piggy's outfits and Kermits and really everybody in the Muppet's. Also, she designed the costumes for The Dark Crystal and the other movies too. I got to have long talks with her about her experiences working with the Muppets and her affection for Jim Hensons vision and him and his family. She was an incredibly talented individual who worked for Jim Henson for nearly 30 years. Sadly she passed away a few years ago. A very sweet individual who has been missed along with Jim Henson. So whenever you see a Muppet show or film or character remember Barbra Davis as the genuis behind all those amazing puppet outfits, costumes and clothes.

    4 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    I love Jim Henson! I grew up on Sesame Street, my favorite character was Snuffy. And I absolutely love Fraggle Rock and still watch it! (Thank you to the Hub on Charter cable!). And who could forget the Muppets! Kermit and Miss Piggy - amazing! Did you know that there's a new Muppet's movie coming out? The Muppets take Manhattan is one of my all time favorite movies, so I cannot wait for this new film! Trailer time!

    4 years ago

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany says:

    That Chow Mein dragon ad gets me every time. Bahaha. Nice.

    4 years ago

  • amysoldschool

    amysoldschool says:

    Fabulous post! My son loves watching to old Muppet Show! One morning first thing he needed a Fozzy Bear made that second! Luckily my mom was watching him that day and took over the task! Jim Henson is a fabulous inspiration for my 8 year old story teller extraordinaire!

    4 years ago

  • ShawnBoenArt

    ShawnBoenArt says:

    I love puppets .... especially sock puppets. Let your imagination go. But Mr. Henson was at the top of his game. And look at all that he created and the legacy he has left behind. Simply amazing.

    4 years ago

  • LetThemEatPie

    LetThemEatPie says:

    I love this and am so glad you made a post about it. His innovative ability was really second to none and it was sad we had to lose him so early. Many things are now lost to the abilities that computers have. The labyrinth will forever be my favorite movie, I could watch it at least one a month for life.

    4 years ago

  • feltingdreams

    feltingdreams says:

    haha I love tihis!! great Jim!

    4 years ago

  • MidnightMoonCeltic

    MidnightMoonCeltic says:

    Jim Henson was genius! Fraggle Rock was our daughter's and grandaughter's favorite show!

    4 years ago

  • MomMind

    MomMind says:

    Thank you

    4 years ago

  • jdfootloose

    jdfootloose says:

    Awesome story, Thank you!

    4 years ago

  • girliepains

    girliepains says:


    4 years ago

  • TheRavensDaughter

    TheRavensDaughter says:

    Jim Henson made the world a better place :)

    4 years ago

  • spanishbelle

    spanishbelle says:

    I'm so glad you blogged about this - I now will book a flight to get there (not using Delta, though) to see the exhibition. I as well raised my little ones on Sesame Street and was thrilled when my grandson was 3 and used the opportunity to dance and twirl to the Count's number song "Doing the Batty Bat" so that he could count with me and have fun at the same time. I have a collectible Kermit Bank which sits near my computer that I look at from time to time that my adult friends just love. The thrills that Jim and Frank offered us, the opportunities to dreamscape with them and just making cookies in the shape of Cookie Monster for my grandchilren allows the child in my to relive those wonderful, awesome days! Just recently, someone posted a want it ad for several Sesame Street characters so that she could make a groomsman cake as several of those men were puppeteers and she wanted as many characters as possible to put on each layer of the cake! Whimsy as an adult is the best medicine! I so enjoyed this article!!!!!!

    4 years ago

  • amystreasuresattic

    amystreasuresattic says:

    I just ran across this. I saw it when it was still in Chicago last year, went to the Museum of Science and Industry on their last free admission day of the year, which happened to be my birthday. this exhibit was well worth the extra admission because it was so fantastic! It was great strolling down memory lane with my friends, all my age (which was late 30s and early 40s). The exhibit was simply wonderful! Everyone needs to see it when it comes to their town.

    4 years ago

  • icenidesign

    Andrew from DrewsNiceART says:

    Perhaps you would like to see how an Etsy artist makes his own puppets for virtually nothing? Try Great for kids and grownups . . . just make up a play too. Let me know how it goes at my shop . . . DrewsniceART

    3 years ago