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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Jim Henson Exhibition at The Henry Ford

If you've been following along on Instagram you'll know that we took a big Midwest road trip over Summer break and that Detroit, Michigan was one of our destinations. While we were in Detroit we spent a rainy day checking out the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

As you can probably guess from the name, the Henry Ford is a museum devoted to American innovators, scientists, designers, creators, and history makers, and the mark they've left on the world. The museum is truly fascinating with some awe inspiring exhibits, and I'll be sharing it all with you soon, but today I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of the museum with you.

Now, I mentioned above that I've been sharing some of our trip over on Instagram, and if you've been following along you would've seen a post from the Henry Ford. A post revealing my first true love! You can head over to Instagram to try and work out who I'm talking about, or I can I can just tell you now. My first true love was Kermit! That's right, Kermit the Frog! As a young child I dreamed of growing up to be a frog so I could marry Kermit. Now, obviously, that never happened (yet!) but I did finally get to meet my childhood crush when we checked out the Jim Henson Exhibition at the Henry Ford.



Like many people my age, I grew up watching The Muppet Show and Sesame Street as well as Jim Henson movies from the 80s. Along with my love for Kermit, I was a big fan of the Count and Grover on Sesame Street, and the Dark Crystal was one of my favorite childhood movies. Actually, the first movie I ever saw at the cinema was a Jim Henson movie too. Can you guess what it was? I included the original movie poster in the pics below. Jim Henson's creations had a big impact on my childhood and I can still remember hearing the news of his passing on the radio when I was thirteen. Isn't it funny how those moment stay with you?

I first heard about the Jim Henson exhibition at The Henry Ford when I was researching our trip earlier in Summer and I was super excited when I realized that the dates worked out perfectly for us. It went straight to the top of my list of things to do in Detroit! I had heard great things about the museum in general and was already keen to visit, so this special exhibition was like the cherry on top. I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint! In fact, the exhibition had so many more items on display than I could have possibly imagined and it reminded me of other Jim Henson gems from my childhood, like Fraggle Rock, that I had forgotten about.  

Ok, let's take a look at the Jim Henson Exhibition...

The exhibition is currently on display at The Henry Ford through September 6th 2021 and is included with the general entry ticket. This particular exhibition is pretty popular, so expect to line up for entry, especially if you visit on a weekend. We probably waited about forty minutes before we were able to go in, but because it is inside the museum I was able to take the kids to check out other displays nearby while Kim stayed in the line. 

You'll never guess who was in the first display when we entered the exhibition. That's right, it was my true love, Kermit! He's so much tinier in real life than I expected but just as cute as always.


After being greeted by Kermit at the entrance the first exhibits we saw were some of Jim Henson's earlier puppets. These came before he found success with The Muppets and Sesame Street but are most definitely recognizable as Jim Henson creations. In fact, at first glance, the kids thought that the blue monster below was Cookie Monster, while I thought it was Sam the Eagle. I mean, it does look like a mix of the too, right?


One of my favorite things about this exhibition is that it has a hands on element to it. The kids and I were able to make our own mini puppet shows which was pretty fun. We chose our puppets, had a little time to practice with them while the staff member on hand gave us tips, and then we recorded our puppet shows. 
 

Next up we found ourselves on Sesame Street. Well, not on the street itself (that would be amazing!) but we found ourselves in the company of some Sesame Street favorites. We saw Bert and Ernie, the Count, Grover, and Slimey the Worm's circus. I always liked Slimey's little circus. He's so cute!


Another hands on experience was up next with the kids decorating a plain puppet with wigs, facial features and various accessories. There was a bit of a line for this so they didn't get to experiment quite as much as they would've liked, but they were still happy with their creation.


Then it was onto my favorite, The Muppets! We'd already seen Kermit by the entrance and in this part of the display we found the professor, Dr Bunson Honeydew and his accident prone sidekick Beaker. They were perfect for cheesy photos - and yes, Mathilde's eyes are closed on purpose! We also saw Scooter, Miss Piggy's glamorous long gloves, and the movie poster I mentioned above. There were also Muppet Babies on display, but I must admit that I was never much of a fan of them.


The next room featured characters from Fraggle Rock as well as beloved Jim Henson Movies including Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. The kids were excited to see Aughra as I have her as my Netflix profile picture! You can totally se the similarities, right? I was really hoping that there would be at least one of the Skeksis on display, but unfortunately there weren't. There were Gelflings along with Aughra though. 



If you're a fan of Jim Henson and happen to be in the Detroit area I really recommend checking out this exhibition. It's full of so many treasures from Jim Henson's imagination and has a wealth of information about his career. It was definitely a highlight of our visit to The Henry Ford. 

For more information and to book tickets click here

Make sure to be quick - the exhibition is only here for another six days. That's one, two, three, four, five, six days... ha ha ha!


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