In 1978, Jim Henson and Kermit cut the ribbon for the Center for Puppetry Arts’ grand opening. On November 14, Kermit returns as part of the center’s 7,500-square-foot Worlds of Puppetry Museum, which includes two permanent galleries: one devoted to 3,000-plus international puppets and another featuring some of the 500 Muppets and props donated by Henson’s family in 2007. A few of our favorite features:
1. View early Henson creations.
The Henson section—the largest exhibition of his work in the country—is arranged chronologically and starts with Omar (a character from Henson’s first TV show Sam and Friends) and Rowlf the dog, who made his debut in Purina commercials before joining The Muppet Show.
2. Find puppets from around the globe.
The international wing’s first exhibition is dominated by Asian puppets, from Vietnamese water puppets to South Korean creations acquired last year.
3. Celebrate cult-favorite films.
The exhibition also features Henson’s adult-oriented work. See Labyrinth’s Didymus and The Dark Crystal’s Jen in a room devoted to their films.
4. Go down to Fraggle Rock.
Fans of Henson’s 1980s hit Fraggle Rock can check out Sprocket, Doozers, and other Fraggles, which are housed in their own space.
5. Try your hand at puppeteering
A shadow puppet wall lets you practice your creature choreography. Kids can also try out rod marionettes.
6. See where the magic happened
Visitors can walk into a re-creation of Henson’s office, complete with his Emmys and a homemade papier-mâché moose head hanging above his desk.
7. Pretend you work on Sesame Street
The TV studio space lets you see firsthand how tough it is to play Muppeteer.
8. Feel Muppet materials
Learn how Muppets are made in the creature workshop, which contains fabric swatches and drawers of googly eyes and noses.
Photographs by John McDonald
This article originally appeared in our November 2015 issue.