The Henry Ford in Dearborn Offers The Jim Henson Exhibit This Summer

The Henry Ford in Dearborn will offer a new exhibit — The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited that will be inside the Gallery by General Motors in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
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Jim Henson with Kermit the Frog
The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited will be hosted from June through September at The Henry Ford. // Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford in Dearborn will offer a new exhibit — The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited that will be inside the Gallery by General Motors in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

Organized by the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), the traveling exhibition opens at The Henry Ford on June 5, 2021 and run through Sept. 6, 2021. The offering is a version of MoMI’s ongoing The Jim Henson Exhibition, on permanent view in New York City.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited allows visitors to explore Jim Henson’s groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative impact on popular culture.

The comprehensive exhibition reveals how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular worlds of “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” and much more. It also includes material from Henson’s experimental film projects and his early work, presenting him as a restlessly creative performer, filmmaker, and technical innovator.

The exhibition features a broad range of artifacts related to Henson’s career, including more than 20 puppets, character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, film and television clips, behind-the-scenes footage, iconic costumes, and interactive experiences that allow visitors to try their hand at puppeteering on camera and designing a puppet character.

Imagination Unlimited begins with a brief look at Henson’s early life through images of Henson as a young man and reproductions of some of his early drawings and sketches, and then follows his steady rise and immense contributions to the art and industry of the moving image.

Highlights include a Kermit the Frog puppet from 1978; handwritten scripts from Henson’s first television series, “Sam and Friends” (1955-1961); a clip from his Academy Award–nominated experimental film “Time Piece” (1965); Jen and Kira puppets from “The Dark Crystal” (1982); familiar Sesame Street puppets including Grover, Ernie, Bert, and Count von Count; plus, costumes from “Labyrinth” (1986).

The exhibition features an exploration of “The Muppet Show” (1976-1981) from a concept Henson first developed in the early 1960s to an internationally beloved series. The section features iconic puppets that helped define this world-wide brand, including Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Scooter, as well as material from the Muppets’ transition to the big screen, with set models and storyboards illustrating how sets were designed to accommodate puppets and performers.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is a traveling exhibition organized by Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria, New York) in cooperation with The Jim Henson Co., The Muppets Studio, and Sesame Workshop, and toured worldwide by Flying Fish. The exhibition features puppets and other objects donated to the Museum by the family of Jim Henson, plus works on loan from The Jim Henson Co. archives as well as from private lenders.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is free with membership or admission to Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. For more information regarding the exhibit visit www.thehenryford.org.

The Henry Ford includes Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, the Benson Ford Research Center, and the Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school.

The organization also offers thf.org, its national television series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Invention Convention Worldwide, and a growing affiliation of organizations fostering innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship in K-12 students.

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