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The Center for Puppetry Arts
Center for Puppetry Arts - Grand Opening 2015-10-14

The Henson family with Steve Whitmire and Kermit at the permanent exhibition's grand opening in 2015.


Link Hogthrob and Dr. Julius Strangepork on display at the Center.


SkekUng on display.

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A Goblin on display.

Center for Puppetry Arts is the largest nonprofit dedicated to the art of puppetry in the world.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Center is both a puppet theater and museum which features traveling and permanent exhibits of puppets, and has two theaters which continually perform puppet shows for children, families, and adults. The Center's artistic director is Jon Ludwig (shadow puppeteer for Bear in the Big Blue House). It also holds puppet-making workshops for schoolchildren, and houses an extensive research library of 1,500 books on puppetry and 1,000 videos of local and international performances:

The theater opened on September 23, 1978, as Jim Henson and Kermit cut the ribbon.

The museum hosted The Art of the Muppets during 1981, and 50,000 visitors saw the exhibit and the related video presentation in the main theater. In 1988, Henson and the Muppets performed live twice to celebrate the Center's 10th anniversary. In 1994, Jane Henson hosted a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol. During 1996 and 1997, the museum hosted The Vision of Jim Henson. Elmo (and presumably Kevin Clash) were the headline guests at their 1997 puppetry festival.[1] In 1998, the Center hosted a four-day puppetry festival, with a special appearance by Steve Whitmire and Kermit. Also in 1998, to celebrate the Center's 20th anniversary, Cheryl Henson appeared, as did Bear and Tutter. In October 1999, Bear and Ojo appeared. In 2003, Kermit appeared again. In 2005, The Jim Henson Foundation provided a grant to help fund Anne Frank: Within and Without. In January of 2010 the museum presented Steve Whitmire: Perspectives "The Sentient Puppet," a four-day class and lecture.

Before the major expansion and full display of the collection in 2015, the museum's permanent exhibit included original puppets of Link Hogthrob and Dr. Julius Strangepork in their Pigs in Space costumes, a Goblin from Labyrinth, and the original puppet of SkekUng from The Dark Crystal.

In July of 2007, The Jim Henson Foundation announced its intention to donate 500 to 700 original puppets, plus props and designs spanning the entire career of Henson and the Muppets, to the museum, which became the two exhibits Jim Henson: Puppeteer and Jim Henson: Wonders from His Workshop. Work on the expansion of the museum intended to house the full donated collection, which was finally announced on January 14, 2014. The permanent exhibition's grand opening took place on November 14, 2015. In attendance were Brian, Cheryl, and Heather Henson with their spouses and children, Steve Whitmire with Kermit the Frog, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph with Abby Cadabby, Fran Brill (with Prairie Dawn, performed for members only), Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Ryan Dillon, Bonnie Erickson, Rollie Krewson, Karen Falk, Pam Arciero, and Craig Shemin.

In 2024, the center became the first stop on the North American tour of Sesame Street: The Musical.

The Muppets Take Atlanta[]

Muppets Take Atlanta 01

The organization celebrated its tenth anniversary with an event dubbed "The Muppets Take Atlanta" which was attended by several Muppets and their performers including Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Bean Bunny, Clifford, Leon, Ernie, Rowlf the Dog, The Swedish Chef, and Sweetums, along with Jim Henson, Kevin Clash, Steve Whitmire, and Peter MacKennan, with Cheryl Henson credited as a puppet handler. Jeff Dunham performed the opening act.


Worlds of Puppetry[]

The Center for Puppetry Arts opened the permanent Worlds of Puppetry exhibit in November 2015. The exhibit is split into two sections: The Global Collection and The Jim Henson Collection. The Henson family donated between 500 and 700 pieces to the Center,[3] a portion of which will be on display, then rotated out every six months.


Early puppets[]

Sesame Street[]

1970s specials[]

The Muppet Show[]

Fraggle Rock[]

1980s & 1990s[]

The Dark Crystal[]



External links[]


  1. ↑ Phil Kloer, β€œNews for Kids,” The Atlanta Constitution, 13 October 1997, C03.
  2. ↑ 2023-2024 Season Guide
  3. ↑ "Kermit and friends get new Atlanta home" by Associated Press, July 25, 2007