The Jim Henson Exhibition (Museum of the Moving Image)

This was our first time visiting the Museum of the Moving Image!

In such a historic location, the Museum of the Moving Image is in Astoria (Queens, NY) and is found in the former building of Astoria Studios. After intensive renovations, it reopened in 2011 and is still an amazing spot for learning about the history & significance of various mediums including, but not limited to, film and television.

Currently, one of the permanent exhibitions found at the museum is The Jim Henson Exhibition, celebrating the life and legacy of Jim Henson with more than 300 pieces!

I grew up watching various Muppets programming, Sesame Street, and Star Wars, so Jim Henson’s work had a huge impact on my childhood. It was so amazing seeing some of these classic characters up close. Here’s one of my favorites (and one of my favorites to do impressions of)… Kermit the Frog!

As you can see, next to the Kermit puppet is the special headpiece that Jim Henson would wear when puppeteering him. It’s so crazy to see how well inanimate objects can come to life with the right hands!

Even something that appears to be a slinky/tube, named “Java” below, was a blast to see on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966:

But, of course, we had to see some of our favorite Muppets like Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Statler & Waldorf, and Miss Piggy!

But what’s fantastic about the Jim Henson Exhibition is that it not only teaches you about his work, you get to be a part of it too!

My favorite kinds of museums are the interactive kinds, and thankfully this exhibit is one of them!

Step right up and try your “hand” at puppeteering a couple characters on-screen! You have to get low and build a scene from scratch, and then you’ll see a live playback! (Check out the video at the end for more)

In addition to this booth, there’s also a station to build your own puppet! This is for demonstration purposes only so you don’t get to keep it. But feel free to customize the look of your very own Muppet! Here’s our take:

What will yours look like?

But as I mentioned, one of Jim Henson’s biggest involvements was of course Sesame Street. For any Sesame fans, you’ll be very pleased with this next area! No introduction is needed:

And last, but not least, one of the final displays for the Jim Henson Exhibition was for his non-Muppets projects like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

There were puppets, animatronics, diagrams, videos, and so much more going on here!

(And don’t forget, Dark Crystal returns to theaters for 2 days only in February!)

It’s just a thoroughly detailed exhibition and I highly recommend it for fans of Jim Henson or the movies/TV shows mentioned earlier. His work and legacy continue to ripple into today’s franchises… Star Wars’ Yoda (Frank Oz), for example, and even Nien Nunb (Mike Quinn) in this week’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi! (Who’s ready for it??)

Which leads us into the rest of the Museum of the Moving Image.

The whole museum is filled with rich history and beautiful displays of vintage toys, collectibles, arcade games, film & TV props, and more.

So be sure to walk around and explore the techniques used in soundtracks, dubbing, sound effects, and visual effects. You might even be able to make yourself into a flipbook/GIF!

The Museum of the Moving Image is open to the public (starting at $7) Wednesday-Sunday. Free for Museum members & children under 3, and admission is free every Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Visit the site for specific hours & holiday closings.

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