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August 26, 2010

Muppets in Affiliateland

The original Kermit the Frog arrived at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) yesterday. Kermit made his television debut in 1955 as part of a local Washington D.C. television show created by Jim Henson called “Sam and Friends.” Henson’s widow, Jane Henson, donated the original Kermit along with the other puppets from the show. The original Kermit isn’t as green as younger Muppet fans may remember and was fashioned by Henson using his mother’s discarded winter coat. The collection will go on exhibit sometime in November. 

Visitors to the Orange County Regional History Center meet Kermit face-to-face in the SITES exhibition "Jim Henson's Fantastic World."

Affiliates across the nation have collaborated with the Smithsonian to showcase Jim Henson’s characters, whether through a SITES exhibition or through individual artifact loans.  Here are some highlights of Muppet sightings in Affiliate-land:  

Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida) hosted the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World in 2009. The exhibition wraps-up its national tour at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois) in 2011. 

Oscar the Grouch at the Flushing Council for Culture and the Arts.

The Kermit the Frog that is already in NMAH’s collection was first loaned in 1979, in celebration of Sesame Street’s 10th anniversary. In 1994, Jim Henson Productions designated Kermit as a gift, making him a permanent fixture in NMAH’s performance collections. In 2005, NMAH loaned him to The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa)  to be included in their exhibition Toadally Frogs! 

Oscar the Grouch and five additional puppets, also on loan from NMAH, made an appearance at Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts (Flushing, New York) in 2006 in their exhibition With or Without Strings

Through the Affiliations network, communities across the country have had the opportunity to experience Jim Henson’s lovable characters in their neighborhoods.  You can read more about Kermit’s new home at NMAH here:

Kermit gets some new friends at the Smithsonian
Kermit the Frog comes home to Washington

NMAH loaned Kermit the Frog to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in 2005. Photo courtesy NMAH.

May 28, 2010

Smithsonian artifacts in your neighborhood

Did you know you don’t have to be in Washington, D.C. to see Smithsonian artifacts?  Right now there are about 1,166 Smithsonian artifacts on loan to Affiliate museums across the country.  Here’s a few things you could see this weekend! 

Railroad scale models at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

A collection of railroad scale models at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD) from the National Museum of American History. They are considered by many to be the finest examples of railroad scale models ever produced. Originally part of “The Railroad Hall” at NMAH, they remained a part the regular attractions until 2001 when it finally closed after 37 years. 

The Peoria Falcon at Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences

The Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, IL) has the “Peoria Falcon” on loan from the National Museum of Natural History. It’s a beautifully crafted sheet of copper in the stylized shape of a falcon from the Mississippian period. It was excavated near Peoria in the nineteenth century. 

The largest Smithsonian object —the Saturn V Rocket— is on loan to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL). The Saturn V successfully propelled the Apollo II crew to the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. It was designed and built in Huntsville and consisted of more than 3 million parts, making up 700,000 components.

"All That Glitters" at San Diego Natural History Museum.

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA, is home to two Affiliates— the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) and the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM). You can see gems and jewels from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in SDNHM’s exhibition “All That Glitters.” And check out the Apollo 9 command module, Gumdrop, on view at SDASM on loan from the National Air & Space Museum. 

Ten Thousand Springs Pavillion at Irving Arts Center

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavillion, an intricately carved, one-fifth scale model of classical Chinese architecture which stands within Beijing’s Forbidden City, is on view at the Irving Arts Center (Irving, TX).
 

El Kabong at The Air Zoo

The National Air and Space Museum loaned the “El Kabong I” capsule from NASA’s Project Gemini to The Air Zoo (Portage, MI). It was used for drop tests involving the Para-Sail landing system, which was never adopted for actual Gemini flights. 

NMAI artifacts on view at Historic Arkansas Museum.

 Historic Arkansas Museum(Little Rock, AR) has about 50 Native American artifacts on view from the National Museum of the American Indian in their “We Walk in Two Worlds” exhibition.

 

 

Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood!

 

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