Hmmm…..can I get there before it ends?

Original Muppets come home to Washington
The Smithsonian recognizes Jim Hensonís Legacy with inclusion of the original Muppets from “Sam and Friends” and “The Muppet Show”
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim Hensonís iconic Muppets and Kermit the Frog, the Smithsonianís National Museum of American History and its Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation present ìMuppets and Mechanisms: Jim Hensonís Legacy,î opening May 19. Two special displays will feature Hensonís earliest Muppet workóon view for the first time at the museumóas well as his later work in animatronics.
ìJim Henson embodied the innovation and ingenuity that is inherent in American culture,î said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. ìBeyond the entertainment value Hensonís creations provided, his work helped educate and inform his audiences, an influence that continues today.î
In 1955, Hensonís ìSam and Friendsî debuted on local D.C. station WRC-TV, which introduced the American audience to Muppets and launched what would become a global phenomenon. ìSam and Friendsî featured a number of unique, zany characters from the titular Sam to the first Kermit, a lizard-like creature made from a green felt coat discarded by Hensonís mother. Ten of the characters from ìSam and Friends,î including Hensonís oldest surviving creation Pierre, will be on display at the museum, adjacent to the ìAmerican Popular Cultureî displays on the third floor.
Also on view will be a number of characters from ìThe Muppet Showî and other Muppet specials and movies that were originally voiced by Henson himself, including a Kermit the Frog from 1969, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth and the Banjo Player from the Country Trio, which is actually a self-portrait of Henson.
Jim Hensonís contribution to puppeteering and entertainment extends beyond the characters themselves to technology as Henson and his ìCreature Shopsî pioneered uses of animatronics, or remote-controlled Muppets. This animatronic technology was a prominent component of a number of Henson projects, including the 1982 film ìThe Dark Crystal.î On view in cases outside the Lemelson Center on the museumís first floor will be characters from ìThe Dark Crystal,î including the filmís villain Skeksis, as well as examples of animatronic technology.
Jim Henson came up with the word Muppet in the mid-1950s. Seemingly a combination of puppet and marionette, Henson insisted that he chose the term simply because he liked the way it sounded. Central to the design of a Muppet is the way its face is constructed, creating a pattern with the eyes, nose and mouth called ìthe magic triangle.î This establishes a point of focus essential in bringing a puppet to life in the eye of a TV or movie camera.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum, located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. during the summer beginning May 26 and continuing through Sept. 4. The museum will close for major renovations beginning Sept. 5. Admission is free. For more information, visit the museumís Web site at or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 357-1729 (TTY).