Miss. art museum announces Jim Henson exhibit

JACKSON — In a scene that surely would have pleased Jim Henson, a group of children sang the “Sesame Street” theme song Friday to announce an exhibition of “The Muppet” creator’s work in his native Mississippi.

Henson, a Greenville native who developed an astounding imagination while exploring the wilderness near his childhood home in Leland, is the focus of an exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

A news conference Friday at the museum in Jackson opened with a group of children from Galloway Elementary School singing the “Sesame Street” song. Henson was the driving force behind the successful children’s program.

Museum director Betsy Bradley told the gathering, which included reporters, children and the young-at-heart, the show begins Saturday and runs through March 14.

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” will include 130 objects, from puppets to preliminary sketches and movie props, she said.

“Prepare to be delighted, impressed and amazed,” she said. And “see how he made the magic that has uplifted and thrilled us for so many years.”

After Mississippi, the exhibit will travel to 12 other sites across the country.

Henson, a prolific puppeteer, filmmaker and producer, died in 1990, but left a legacy that lives on in the hearts of children. He’s the creator of such memorable characters as Kermit the Frog and Big Bird.

“It’s such a treat to get to know Jim Henson through his doodles and drawings, his puppets and his fantastic performances,” Karen Falk, curator of the exhibition and archivist and Jim Henson Company, said in a news release.

The exhibition is being put on as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Jim Henson Legacy. It’s sponsored by Mississippi native and Netscape founder Jim Barksdale and his wife, Donna.

Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Press