“The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is a brand new traveling exhibition that takes you through the creative journey of Jim Henson and his team. Featuring historical artifacts – including real puppets like Kermit the Frog, Ernie and Bert, and others – “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” gives guest the opportunity to get up close and personal with Henson and his team’s important contributions to entertainment and filmmaking. Based on an ongoing installation in the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, the traveling exhibition made its debut at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington and is now coming to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California for the summer.
“We really wanted to unpack the story of Jim’s journey as a creative innovator and also the intensely collaborative nature of his work,” said Barbara Miller, Museum of the Moving Image curator who put the exhibition together. The team at the Museum of the Moving Image worked with the Jim Henson company, The Walt Disney Company and Sesame Workshop in order to get the full scope of the work by Henson and his team. “Everybody was sort of on board with doing a thoughtful, reflective kind of look at Jim’s creative process and creative process of his collaborators,” said Miller. “So we didn’t want just to play the greatest hits, we wanted to provide a fuller perspective on Jim’s output as a filmmaker and really highlight the work of his collaborators.”
“We were really committed to telling the story that Jim Henson did not create all these things. It was him being this incredible leader of people that he drew around him, that he enabled to reach their best creative selves,”
Like many of Henson’s works, the exhibit strikes a careful balance between old and new, and between maturity and childlikeness. The traveling exhibition contains many items that Henson fans will love – for example, interactive ipads that allow guests to thumb through Henson’s journals. At the same time, Miller is confident that even children will enjoy the exhibit. “There are lots of different layers to it,” she notes.
Guests of all ages will be treated to historical artifacts, original storytelling tools and, of course, the chance to see muppets and puppets in real life. These pieces come together to show not Jim Henson’s story, but the story of how he and his team worked together to create stories of kindness and joy. “We were really committed to telling the story that Jim Henson did not create all these things. It was him being this incredible leader of people that he drew around him, that he enabled to reach their best creative selves,” said Miller. “To honor that idea of creative collaboration is a big message that we want to be able to give to visitors of all ages, that working together with other people is better and more productive than doing stuff on your own.”
“The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” takes you on the journey that Henson and his team took as they created, wrote and performed many still-beloved works. Miller is confident that the timelessness of the exhibit is something that contributes to the public’s continuing interest in exhibitions like the ones she has curated.
“It’s not just because people love the muppets. we’re looking at a fiercely innovative creative person who led this team to create these characters and stories that have stood the test of time better, I would say arguably, than anything else that’s ever been made.”
You can visit “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” at the Skirball Cultural Center from June 1–September 2, 2018. Get your tickets online now!