Mayor Bill de Blasio, first lady Chirlane McCray, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and more celebrated the opening with some help from Fozzie Bear, Abby Cadabby and Red Fraggle. Museum staff have been working for four years to make the exhibition a reality and in April created a GoFundMe page to fund the restoration of the puppets that will be on display.
The exhibition is dedicated to celebrating the work and creative process of Jim Henson, the creator of “The Muppet Show.” Attendees will be treated to more than 300 objects on display including puppets such as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Statler, Waldorf, Big Bird, Elmo and Cantus Fraggle.
Sketches, storyboards and scripts donated by the Jim Henson Foundation and on loan from The Jim Henson Company Archives will also be on display.
“The Jim Henson Exhibition is a beautiful homage to an artist whose influence on our children’s education and popular culture is immeasurable,” McCray said. “With warmth, a little bit of silliness, and a whole lot of love, Henson’s characters will continue to teach and bridge cultural and education gaps for generations to come.”
The exhibition received $1.6 million from the city budget, $2 million from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and $500,000 from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
Henson, who was born in Mississippi in 1936, joined “Sesame Street” in the 1960s where he helped create characters like Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog and Ernie. He also created puppets for “Fraggle Rock,” and movies “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth, which he co-wrote and co-directed.
He died suddenly in 1990 when he was 53 after suffering from toxic shock syndrome. Henson was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame one year later and also named a Disney Legend in 2011.
“From the Muppet Show to Sesame Street, the work of Jim Henson touched the hearts of millions across our globe,” Van Bramer said. “The volume and originality of Jim Henson’s work is truly astounding, and I’m proud to have secured $2 million in funding for a permanent exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image so that hundreds of his personal artifacts including puppets, storyboards and sketches can find a permanent home in western Queens. For generations to come, this exhibit will tell the story of his work and inspire all who visit.”
The exhibit officially opens on July 22 at 36-01 35th Ave. Museum admission is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students, $7 for children 7 to 11 years old and free for children 3 years old and younger.