Fifteen years after puppeteer Jim Henson’s death, his legacy remains strong—especially in Georgia.
In 2007, Henson's family donated more than 500 artifacts to Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to Henson’s beloved art form. The center decided to enlarge its facilities to accommodate the new memorabilia, giving birth to the brand-new Worlds of Puppetry Museum—a new wing that boasts “the world’s most comprehensive collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts.”
Slated to open later this month, the $14 million project—which expanded the already-existing Center for Puppetry Arts—will display original puppets ranging from Muppets like Fozzie Bear to characters from Henson’s cult film The Dark Crystal. Other highlights will include rare puppets from Henson’s undergraduate years at the University of Maryland, as well as interactive models of the office and television studio where Henson created his beloved characters.
According to Smithsonian.com’s Matt Blitz, the entire Henson collection was conserved and restored by the museum’s full-time staff, ensuring that the brittle foam latex figurines will last for years to come. However, not all of the institution’s relics will be displayed at once. The museum will showcase about 75 puppets at a time, ensuring that repeat visitors will always be greeted with a new assortment of relics when they return.
The center will celebrate its grand opening on November 14, and the Henson family—who helped design the new wing—will be present for the celebration. Attendees can enjoy food trucks, workshops, and Muppet memorabilia, or they can check out the rest of the museum's collections, which trace the history of puppetry in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. To get a sneak peek at the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, or purchase tickets to the festivities, visit the center's website or check out the video above.