Everybody Loves the Muppets

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and OEC have been working on a traveling exhibition about Jim Henson’s life work. We began design consultation in February 2006 and script editing in June 2006. Now that the script and design are finalized, we turn to production of the graphic and text panels, labels, cases, and mounts for the puppets that will be traveling with the show.

In March 2007, Bonnie Erickson (above right with Bert and Ernie), vice president of The Jim Henson Legacy and creator of many well-known Muppets, including Animal and Miss Piggy, flew down from New York to OEC’s collection storage facility to “style” or determine the position of each puppet. OEC designer Tina Lynch, mountmakers Howard Clemenko and Daniel Fielding, modelmaker Tim Smith (above left), and SITES registrar Josie Cole and project director Deborah Macanic worked with Ms. Erickson to convey the “personality” of each puppet within the constraints of the dimensions of the cases, conservation requirements, and safety for the objects during shipping.

Here OEC mountmaker Howard Clemenko (above) sets a small mount that will hold up Rowlf’s ear. During Ms. Erickson’s visit, OEC staff photographed each puppet’s position for reference during the fabrication of the mounts and installation of the puppets in the cases. Each mount is made to support the object without causing any damage to it, while also being virtually invisible to the visitor.

In the Design and Editing offices, we have hung rough color proofs of the graphics and text panels for the show to facilitate final proofreading and approval of colors and layouts before sending the digital files to our Graphics shop for final printing, laminating, and mounting.

Needless to say, having the Muppets and other works by Jim Henson at OEC has been a lot of fun! More photos.

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World begins touring this September at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The following organizations have graciously allowed OEC to show you these behind-the-scenes images of Jim Henson’s work:

For Bert and Ernie:
TM & (c) 2007 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

For Rowlf and Kermit:
(c) The Muppets Studio, LLC.

For Cantus:
(c) 2007 The Jim Henson Company, All Rights Reserved.

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