The Henson family and the Jim Henson Foundation have announced that they are donating a large collection of Jim Henson artifacts — everything from hundreds of original puppets to sketches and artwork — to Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts.
The 29-year-old center will house between 500 and 700 Henson pieces in a wing named for the beloved puppeteer as part of a new building scheduled to open in 2012. One of the original Kermit the Frog puppets is already on display at the center, and a series of smaller exhibits from the larger collection will rotate through the center until the new space opens. In September, the center will get Rowlf, Swedish Chef and Dr. Teeth puppets as part of an exhibit focusing on the characters that Henson operated himself. The center also will display characters from "Sesame Street", "Fraggle Rock", "The Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth", "Sam and Friends", and other Henson works.
"People will be able to come to Atlanta and immerse themselves in the life and career of Jim Henson in a way that cannot be replicated anywhere else," said Vince Anthony, founder and executive director of the center.
The Center for Puppetry Arts was offered the Henson Foundation archive because of its long history with the Jim Henson Company. Jim Henson cut the ribbon at the center’s opening in 1978 alongside Kermit and Miss Piggy (dressed as Rhett and Scarlett), and the center’s collection already includes the Pigs in Space from "The Muppet Show."
The institution is "the prime center of puppetry arts in the country and really has been for a long time," said Eileen Blumenthal, a professor of theater arts at Rutgers and author of the book Puppety, a World History.
Cheryl Henson, co-CEO of the Jim Henson Company and daughter of Jim Henson, stated in a press release that: "We are delighted the Center for Puppetry Arts will make it possible for the public to see and experience the full breadth of this extraordinary work that reaches across generations and countries to touch everybody."
Feel free ot visit puppet.org for more information on the Center for Puppetry Arts and this momentous and Muppetational gift.