Celebrating Jim Henson at the Skirball: June 1-Sept 2, 2018
Both my husband and I are big fans of Jim Henson‘s works. I have Sesame Street to thank for my substitute preschool education, and The Muppets for shaping my humor and entertainment interests. Jim Henson was taken too soon, but he left behind a wealth of work he put his heart, soul, and energy into for us all to enjoy. The power of empathy continues in his inspired works today, on shows created by The Jim Henson Company, such as Julie’s Green Room.
The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited at the Skirball Cultural Center features puppets and other objects donated to the Museum by the family of Jim Henson, plus works on loan from The Jim Henson Company Archives as well as from private lenders. I loved the quotes from Jim Henson, showing the evolution of his ideas and creations. There is a lot to see and read, so give yourself some time. If you have a small child with little patience, there are a few spots in the exhibit which will entertain them and buy you some time to stroll down memory lane.
Puppets dominate the landscape of the exhibit. While there are several iterations of puppets used throughout the years, we got a firsthand look at some of the early concepts as well. We learned about how some of the characters, such as Rowlf, became stars through appearances in other shows and commercials. I love how Ernie’s Rubber Duckie also made the cut!
The journey Jim Henson took was a result of exploring his interests. On display are some of his less-successful ventures such as a multimedia nightclub he spent four years (1966-1970) designing. Thankfully, he powered forward with other creative ideas, which led to more Muppets characters, movies such as Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, and the television series Fraggle Rock.
Thankfully, there were interactive sections of the exhibit to entertain small children.
Puppetry and cameras
In the clip below, we learned how puppetry, mirroring, and matching an audio soundtrack worked. In the early days of puppeteering, they practiced using audio recordings!
Dress your puppet
Here, you could apply different facial features, hairpieces, and accessories to dramatically change the appearance.
Take a “selfie”
Perform a Song
This section was near the end. I think my daughter enjoyed it the most. Her and my husband chose puppets and a song off of the playlist to “perform”. They chose (a shortened version) of the iconic song “Mahana Mahna”.
The Jim Henson Exhibition Imagination Unlimited at Skirball Cultural Center
The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is a traveling exhibition organized by Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria, New York) in cooperation with The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, and Sesame Workshop, and toured worldwide by Flying Fish. The exhibition features puppets and other objects donated to the Museum by the family of Jim Henson, plus works on loan from The Jim Henson Company archives as well as from private lenders.
Museum of the Moving Image would like to thank the George Lucas Family Foundation and Cheryl Henson for helping to make the touring show possible.
June 1 – September 2, 2018
Admission to this exhibit is included with Museum admission (click for details)
About the Skirball
The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger and inspired by the American democratic ideals of freedom and equality. We welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society.
Open to the public since 1996, the Skirball has established itself as one of the world’s most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions and among the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles.
Disclaimer: WestsideMommy received press tickets in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and 100% my own. No monetary compensation was exchanged for this post. It is for informational purposes only.