ASTORIA — It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights!
The long-awaited gallery devoted to "The Muppets" creator Jim Henson will open Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image, featuring hundreds of artifacts from his career, including dozens of his beloved puppets.
Miss Piggy in her bridal finery. (Credit: DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)
The permanent Jim Henson Exhibition offers a comprehensive look at Henson's work, from "Sesame Street" to "Labyrinth," and is expected to become a major tourist attraction, officials said. The show will be housed in a newly built gallery space funded by the city
"We're so happy that we can present this gift to the people of New York and to the world," said Carl Goodman, director of the Museum of the Moving Image, located in Astoria's Kaufman Arts District.
"We're trying to work together to turn this area into an arts district that is greater than the sum of the parts, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the primary attractor in all of this is going to be the Jim Henson Exhibition," he said.
Plans for the exhibit have been underway since 2013, following a popular temporary version of the display that appeared at the museum in 2011. More than 2,000 people donated to a Kickstarter campaign to fund the exhibit's completion.
Two of the characters from "Fraggle Rock." (Credit: DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)
The collection — much of it donated by Henson's family — features a number of his best-known Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the wise-cracking Statler and Waldorf.
Other items on display are Henson's sketches, storyboards and scripts, including pieces from some of his lesser-known projects like early television commercials and experimental films.
"One of the goals was really to deepen our understanding of Jim Henson as an artist, as a creative thinker, as an experimental filmmaker, and really see a bigger picture of him as a creator," said curator Barbara Miller.
A character sketch from Henson's "The Dark Crystal." (Credit: DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)
Screens throughout the gallery show clips from Henson's various projects, while other parts of the exhibit are interactive. One section lets visitors try their hand as puppeteers, while another includes a blank puppet that can be dressed up in wigs, stick-on eyes, noses and other features.
Alongside the exhibit, the museum will screen flicks like "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and "The Great Muppet Caper," as well as hosting puppet workshops and other events.
Admission to the museum costs $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students, and $7 for kids. Advanced tickets for the Henson exhibit can be ordered here.
One section of the exhibit lets visitors try their hand as a puppeteer. (Credit: DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)