Moving Image Extends Popular Exhibition Jim Henson's Fantastic World

Moving Image Extends Popular Exhibition Jim Henson's Fantastic World

Carl Goodman, Executive Director of Museum of the Moving Image, today announced a seven-week extension for Jim Henson's Fantastic World, the Smithsonian traveling exhibition that explores the creative process of the world-renowned puppeteer, filmmaker, and television pioneer. The popular exhibition, which was scheduled to close on January 16, will now be on view through Sunday, March 4, 2012.

"The Henson exhibition has delighted Museum visitors of all ages and backgrounds," said Mr. Goodman. "By the end of its run, we expect more than 100,000 visitors to have seen the exhibition. Many of them will also have experienced a screening of one of Jim Henson's movies or television shows in our theaters or participated in a related workshop."

Museum of the Moving Image is the thirteenth and final venue scheduled to host Jim Henson's Fantastic World and the only one in New York State. Since it opened on July 16, 2011, the exhibition has been seen by nearly 90,000 visitors. During this period, special guests including Frank Oz, Brian Henson, Cheryl Henson, Bob McGrath, Brian Froud, Kevin Clash, Fran Brill, Bonnie Erickson, and other performers, family members, and colleagues of Jim Henson have participated in public programs. Many of these programs were compiled and presented by Craig Shemin, President of the Jim Henson Legacy.

Working closely with The Jim Henson Legacy, which co-organized the exhibition with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the Museum will also continue presenting Henson-related screenings and programs every weekend through March 4 in its theaters.

Highlights of the holiday period include screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol, A Muppet Holiday Christmas, and A Henson Family Holiday. Programs in the New Year will include a Muppet Movie marathon on February 26 (day of the televised Academy Awards presentation); the compilation program "Jim Henson and Friends: Inside the Sesame Street Vault"; screenings of full episodes of The Muppet Show, guest-curated by Craig Shemin; and workshops presented by professional puppeteers. A partial schedule of programs is included below; additional special programs will be announced soon.

"It has been very special to have this exhibition right here in New York City where Jim lived and worked," said Bonnie Erickson, Executive Director of The Jim Henson Legacy. "Because this is the last venue of our national tour, we want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to experience his creative process."

"Since 2007 we have had the great fortune to share Jim Henson's Fantastic World with museum-goers in thirteen cities across the country," said Anna R. Cohn, Director of SITES. "It has been an extraordinary journey and we're thrilled that Kermit the Frog and his friends will continue to celebrate Jim in the city that they all called home."

Jim Henson's Fantastic World features more than 120 artifacts, including drawings, storyboards, and props, and video material that illustrate Henson's boundless creativity and innumerable accomplishments. A special addition to the exhibition at the Museum is a puppet of Miss Piggy from The Muppets Take Manhattan. Among other highlights are fourteen additional iconic original puppets of such characters as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Bert, and Ernie; photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work; and excerpts from Henson's early projects and experimental films. The exhibition spans Henson's entire career, beginning with drawings, cartoons, and posters produced during his college years in the late 1950s and concluding with objects related to the inspired imaginary worlds of his popular fantasy film The Dark Crystal (1982) and the HBO television series Fraggle Rock. Visitors will encounter materials from Henson's best-known projects, The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie and its sequels, as well as objects related to his Sesame Street characters. Visitors will also learn about Sam and Friends, an early show Henson created in the 1950s, Henson's television commercial work in the 1960s, and the segments Henson made for The Ed Sullivan Show.

Educational programs will include 30-minute guided tours of the exhibition (every Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.) and family workshops.

Jim Henson's Fantastic World is curated by Karen Falk, Archivist for The Jim Henson Company, and is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), in cooperation with the Henson Family; The Jim Henson Company; The Muppets Studio, LLC; and Sesame Workshop. The exhibition is made possible by the BIO channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson. Support for the exhibition at Museum of the Moving Image is provided by Five Napkin Burger, The Astor Room, and Schmutter, Strull, Fleisch, Inc.

The Jim Henson Legacy is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Jim Henson's contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television and motion pictures, special effects and media technology. More information at www.jimhensonlegacy.org.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history. More information at www.sites.si.edu.

Museum of the Moving Image is the only institution in the United States that explores the art, industry, and innovation of screen culture in all its forms. Embracing topics that range from nineteenth-century optical toys to the latest Internet developments, it provides insight into every phase of the production, promotion and exhibition of moving images. Engaging an international audience of all ages, the Museum offers a distinctive, highly interactive core exhibition; contemporary and retrospective programs of films from around the world; public discussions with leading figures in film and television; a unique collection; inspiring education programs; stimulating changing exhibitions; and groundbreaking online projects. More information at movingimage.us.

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