Jim Henson

"Jim Henson's Fantastic World": Public Programs in June

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” will be on view through June 27.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet or would like to see the exhibition one last time, you may want to plan your visit to catch one of our June programs.

Gallery talk

On Saturday, June 5 at 2 p.m., join Museum staff for a free guided tour of “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” featuring drawings, cartoons and storyboards, puppets and television and movie props from throughout the artist’s career. We’ll explore his visual thinking and discover his talent as a storyteller and visionary.

Mornings at the Museum

Bert & Ernie, crop If Sesame Street is more your family’s speed, please plan on attending “Mornings at the Museum: All About Sesame Street” on Thursday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m. Whether teaching kids how to count or sort recyclables, Jim Henson’s Sesame Street characters are all about fun. Join us for a Sesame “expedition” to uncover some of the creative lessons taught by the Muppets. For children age 4 and under with accompanying adult. $5/child (non-members) and $3/child (members).

Special Performance

If you would to see something out-of-the-ordinary, be here on Sunday, June 20, 2010 from 12:30–1:30 p.m. for a performance of "The ClockWorks, the Universe and Everything: An Hour of Puppets and Song" with The Cosmic Bicycle Theatre. With this show, Jonathan Cross of The Cosmic Bicycle Theatre will present a miniature masterpiece of experimental puppet theater. The show whimsically combines found objects, Victorian toy theater, shadow plays, and marionettes. For ages 8 to adult. Limited to 140. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance by calling 781-861-6559, ext. 4101.

Look Both Ways & GoJane_Photo_cropped

On the same afternoon, Sunday, June 20, 2010 from 2:30–4 p.m.  Jane Henson, co-creator of the Muppets and widow of the late Jim Henson, will present “Look Both Ways & Go,” a behind-the-scenes look at how the pair created a cultural phenomenon. The presentation will feature seldom-seen video clips from the Jim Henson Archives. Free. No pre-registration necessary.

We will look forward to seeing you here at the museum in June.


Photo credits:

Bert & Ernie. Photo by John E. Barrett. TM & © 2010 SesameWorkshop. All Rights Reserved.

Jane Henson. Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Legacy

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, in cooperation with the Henson Family; The Jim Henson Company; The Muppets Studio, LLC; and Sesame Workshop. The exhibition is made possible by The Biography Channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson.  

The Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation, is a proud sponsor of these public programs. 

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"Jim Henson's Fantastic World": Public Programs in May

Now entering its second month at the National Heritage Museum, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" continues to delight visitors. Throughout May, we are offering public programs for every age and interest level. Read on - you're sure to discover a program you'd like to attend.

Heather Henson Head Shot This Mother's Day, Sunday, May 9, at 2 p.m., Jim Henson's youngest child, Heather Henson, will offer visitors an exquisite treat, entitled "A Daughter Remembers." Heather Henson's reminiscences about her father's life and extraordinary career will open a window to her own professional activities. She is the president and artistic director of IBEX, an entertainment company which promotes puppetry for the stage, film, and gallery. This presentation is free.

If you come to the Museum a bit earlier on May 9, you can enjoy a free gallery tour of "Jim Henson's Fantastic World." Join Museum staff at 1 p.m. for insights into the artist's astonishingly versatile mind and works.

Would you like to plunge in and AnythingCanBeAPuppetride the waves of your own creativity? Let Jim Henson inspire you at our puppetry workshop, "Anything Can Be A Puppet," offered on Saturday, May 15, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Michelle Finston, art educator and puppeteer, will be on hand to lead a workshop for people of all ages in how to create puppets and use them to tell stories. Ages seven to adult will enjoy this program, which costs $20/participant for non-members and $15/participant for members. Reserve your spot by emailing: programs@monh.org.

Falk-IMG_4208-vF[1] The third May weekend brings a second special guest to the Museum. On Saturday, May 22, Karen Falk, exhibition curator and archivist at The Jim Henson Legacy, will offer visitors two exciting programs. At 12 p.m., she will lead a free gallery tour of "Jim Henson's Fantastic World." Please note that participation is limited to 25 and pre-registration required. To secure one of the few remaining spots, call (781) 861-6559, ext. 4101. Then, at 2 p.m., Ms. Falk will present a free talk entitled "Sell, Sell, Sell! Highlights from Jim Henson's Commercials." Did you know that Jim Henson was an innovator in advertising in the early 1960s, launching many of his characters' careers in that field? Come see video of this little-known and highly entertaining work!

Calling all pre-schoolers! Even the smallest visitorsErnie&Bert can connect with "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" through our Mornings at the Museum programs. Come on Thursday, May 13 at 10:30 for a "Puppet Delight." We'll read a story about an imaginative chicken named Minerva Louise and make our own puppets. On Thursday, May 27 at 10:30, "MONSTERS!" will be our theme. Find your inner monster by listening to Where the Wild Things Are, creating a monster mask, and parading to some fun and fuzzy monster tunes. Children ages 4 and under and accompanying adults will enjoy these programs. $5/child (non-members) and $3/child (members). No pre-registration necessary.

You'll find more information about these and other public programs offered at the Museum on our programs webpage. Send us a mail at programs@monh.org or give us a call at 781 457-4126 if you have questions about programming.

MLF name Blue The Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation, is a proud sponsor of these public programs. 

"Jim Henson's Fantastic World" is on view at the National Heritage Museum through June 27, 2010.

Photo Credits:

Heather Henson. Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Legacy

Puppet. Photo courtesy of Michelle Finston

Karen Falk. Photo by John E. Barrett

Bert & Ernie. Photo by John E. Barrett. TM & © 2010 SesameWorkshop. All Rights Reserved

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“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and 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 Biography Channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson.

SmithsonianLogo      Henson_logo       Tbc_logo


"Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" Opens This Saturday, April 3!

Henson and his characters smaller 

Please note: The Museum will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jim didn’t think in terms of boundaries at all the way the rest of us do. There are always these fences we build around ourselves and our ideas. Jim seemed to have no fences.
      --Jon Stone, Sesame Street producer and director

Without “fences” to limit where his imagination could roam, Jim Henson (1936-1990)—artist, puppeteer, film director and producer—created elaborate imaginary worlds filled with unique characters, objects, environments and even languages and cultures. His work is enjoyed in dozens of languages in more than 100 countries. “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and The Jim Henson Legacy, offers a rare peek into the imagination and creative genius of this multitalented innovator and creator of Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and other beloved characters.

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” will be on view at the Museum April 3 through June 27, 2010.

The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that Jim_Henson_Bert&Earnie illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets, and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.

“It’s such a treat to get to know Jim Henson through his doodles and drawings, his puppets and his fantastic performances,” said Karen Falk, curator of the exhibition and archivist at The Jim Henson Company. “I’m delighted to be able to share this inspiring and entertaining experience with people all over the country. Seeing his original work firsthand opens a window into his visual thinking and provides both an appreciation of Jim as an artist and a reason to laugh out loud.”

Jim_Henson and Kermit From the very beginning, Henson expressed his ideas with incredible bursts of invention, through a variety of visual forms, clever dialogue, songs, comic bits and animation. All of his work reveals a highly sophisticated and nuanced thought process, evident in the decades-long metamorphosis of a small group of captivating characters from simple doodles to cartoons to puppets to films. What began as a one-man enterprise eventually grew into an international phenomenon. As time passed, the simple hand puppets Henson created for his first television show, “Sam and Friends,” evolved into increasingly more sophisticated characters—from the Muppets of “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” fame to the larger-than-life fantasy creatures of “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.”

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“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and 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 Biography Channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson.

 

The Biography Channel is a 24-hour digital cable network dedicated to presenting compelling stories about the world’s most interesting people. One of the most sought after and fastest growing channels available today, The Biography Channel presents vibrant profiles of intriguing individuals, plus exciting new original series, short features and documentaries. For more information, visit www.biography.com.

Established in 1993, The Jim Henson Legacy was created by family and friends in response to the extraordinary interest in the life and work of Jim Henson. The organization is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Henson’s contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television, motion pictures, special effects and media technology. By making Henson’s creative body of work available to the public through presentations and exhibits, the Legacy will share the power of Henson’s art and imagination and his positive view of life with generations to come.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.

Photo captions:
Henson and His Characters. Photo by John E. Barrett, courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. Kermit the Frog © The Muppets Studio, LLC.

Bert & Ernie. Photo by John E. Barrett. TM & © 2007 SesameWorkshop. All Rights Reserved.

Henson and Kermit. Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. Kermit the Frog © The Muppets Studio, LLC.




Museum Receives Smithsonian Community Grant To Support “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” April 3-June 27, 2010

Jim_Henson_and_his_characters The National Heritage Museum announced today that it has received a grant from the Smithsonian Community Grant program to support the upcoming exhibition “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” opening April 3, 2010. This competitive grant was awarded to assist in the development and implementation of all aspects of the show from educational programming to promotion.

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” opens at the Museum on April 3, 2010 and will remain on view through June 27, 2010. The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. It offers a rare peek into the imagination and creative genius of this multitalented innovator and creator of Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and other beloved characters. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets, and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.

The Smithsonian Community Grant will allow the Museum to present an array of educational programming. Says Hilary Anderson Stelling, Director of Exhibitions and Audience Development, “We are thrilled to be able to bring this wonderful exhibition to New England. The generous support from the Smithsonian Community Grant program allows us to offer visitors a rich selection of programs related to the exhibition from activities for families, to lectures exploring his little-known work in television commercials. There are a lot of Henson fans out there. Our programs will give people of all ages a chance to further understand his creativity and contributions.” For more information on the exhibition and related programming, please visit our web site.

The Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation and administered by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), is used to strengthen the connections between museums nationwide and their communities. The grants allow exhibitors to enhance current program offerings or to create a new program suited to the topic of the SITES exhibition that they will be hosting. Grants up to $5,000 are awarded based on criteria that each exhibitor must meet. For more information on Smithsonian Community Grants, visit www.sites.si.edu or email sitesgrants@si.edu.

 “This is an excellent opportunity to encourage our exhibitors to engage their audiences in new and exciting ways,” said Anna R. Cohn, SITES director. “We are pleased with this tremendous show of support from MetLife Foundation and we recognize the impact that their support will have for museums and their visitors.”

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 55 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.


Calling All Collectors!

The National Heritage Museum gets its exhibitions from a number of sources. We produce some, like “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty,” primarily from the Museum’s collections. Others are the result of a collaboration between the Museum and another organization. For example, staff from the Massachusetts Cultural Council approached us with a great idea, eight years of fieldwork, and a list of artists who were interested in sharing their work with the public. We provided a gallery space and expertise in how to produce and display a museum exhibition. The result is the critically acclaimed show, “Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts,” now on view.

We even rent exhibitions from other organizations, which gives us access to objects we wouldn’t otherwise be able to present to our visitors. Our upcoming exhibition, “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” is a good example. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES), in conjunction with the Henson Legacy and the Biography Channel, has produced this rare look into Jim Henson’s life work. The show will be traveling all over the country, with a stop here in Lexington from April 3-June 27, 2010.

Neon - 4thRoom3 We have produced some of our most popular exhibitions by drawing from local collectors’ material. These enthusiasts contacted us, or we heard about them through word-of-mouth or feature articles in newspapers and magazines. Once we’ve identified a collection related to a topic in American history that we think will be of interest to our visitors, and have learned that the collector is interested in working with us, we set a date for the exhibition, usually two to four years in the future. We then begin working with the collector to select the objects and themes that help tell a compelling story in American history. Recent exhibitions based on local collections include “The Western Pursuit of the American Dream,” “Blue Monday: Doing Laundry in America,” and “New England Neon.” Visitors enjoyed these shows, which we think provided winning combinations of the museum’s mission and collectors’ passions.

If you have or know of a collection that relates to a topic in American history, we’d like to hear from you! Please call us at 781-861-4101 or use our contact form.

Gallery photo of "New England Neon," which was on view at the museum from April 12-September 14, 2003. The museum worked with a local collector to produce this popular exhibition.