Albuquerque Museum hosting exhibition on Jim Henson, Muppets, and more

by Nick Gonzales

We can’t tell you how to get to Sesame Street. But if you take U.S. Highway 550 down to Interstate 25, get off at the exit for Interstate 40, head left on Rio Grande Boulevard, left on Mountain Road, and right on 19th Street, you can meet some of the cast. So to speak.

The Albuquerque Museum is hosting “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited,” a traveling exhibition that showcases the puppeteers work in film and television and effect on pop culture.

The exhibition features more than 20 puppets, character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, film and television footage, costumes and interactive experiences where visitors can try their hand at puppeteering.

Among the puppets are Muppets Kermit the Frog, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and scooter; Sesame Street’s Grover, Bert, Ernie, and Cont von Count; and Jen and Kira from “The Dark Crystal.” If Henson’s live action is more your thing, the exhibit also features David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly’s ballroom costumes from “Labyrinth.” (If the song “Magic Dance” just got stuck in your head, we apologize. You’re not alone.)

The Albuquerque Journal notes that the Jim Henson and the Muppets have a number of connections to Albuquerque and northern New Mexico. The hot air balloon sequence at the beginning of 1981’s “The Great Muppet Caper,” was, naturally, shot in Albuquerque. Even earlier, a 1974 episode of Sesame Street traveled to Talpa, New Mexico, just south of Taos. In the episode, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie hitches a ride to Taos Pueblo with the Muppets and performs.

The exhibition will remain at the Albuquerque Museum through April 19. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. General admission is $6 for adults, $5 for New Mexico residents, and $4 for seniors; Children 12 and under a free. There’s an additional $5 surcharge for the exhibit, unless you’re one of the aforementioned children.Nick Gonzales


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