UPDATED April 13, 4 p.m.
The Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria asked for help from the community to make an upcoming exhibit on ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson a permanent part of the museum — and 30 hours, later the museum met its goal.
Organizers asked for $40,000 to help restore the approximately 175 puppets that will be on display at 36-01 35th Ave. and construct the cases that will hold the puppets. Henson, best known as the creator of The Muppets, began creating puppets in high school. He joined “Sesame Street” in the 1960s where he introduced his most famous character, Kermit the Frog.
The Kickstarter campaign was supposed to run through May 11 and the museum created a video with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, Bonnie Erickson (designer of Miss Piggy) and museum staff that describes how Henson personally influenced them. Now, the museum has set a new goal of $100,000.
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from the community of Jim Henson fans,” the Kickstarter page read. “Your generosity has enabled us to meet our goal of $40,000 to preserve and install the puppets in The Jim Henson Exhibition in just two days. We hope you will continue to support us and help us spread the word about this campaign, as we extend our efforts to preserve Jim’s legacy: we are setting a new goal of $100,000, which will help us restore more puppets in the Museum’s Jim Henson collection.”
“The Jim Henson Exhibition” will feature more than 40 original puppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Fraggles, and a Skeksis from “The Dark Crystal,” as well as puppet prototypes, original character sketches, behind-the-scenes footage and photographs and interactive puppetry design and performance experiences. The Jim Henson Company will also loan artifacts for the exhibition.
“While Jim Henson may be best known as the inventor of the Muppets and so many other memorable characters, our exhibition takes a more holistic view of his contributions as a producer, director, innovator and creative leader who worked with an impressive team of collaborators,” said Carl Goodman, executive director of MoMI. “In that spirit, we are honored to be working with the designers and builders at the legendary Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to restore and preserve the puppets for future generations.”
Those who donate to the campaign will receive prizes such as tickets to screenings, merchandise such as T-shirts and chocolate, signed autographs from famed puppeteers and a one-year museum membership. Those who pledge $200 or more can receive one-of-a-kind collectors’ items and can sponsor the restoration of a puppet.
In addition, MoMI will host monthly screenings of Henson’s work and family programming to introduce people to his work. A traveling version of the exhibition will begin on May 20th at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture and introduce audiences around the country to his puppets and films.
To donate, visit the Kickstarter page here.