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 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. 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 their 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 14th, 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.
The Muppets Take Atlanta
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.
- The Art of the Muppets – 1981
- The Vision of Jim Henson – 1996-1997
- Jim Henson: A Man and His Frog – July 25, 2007 (on long-term display)
- Jim Henson: Puppeteer – September 25, 2007 (on long-term display)
- Jim Henson: Wonders from His Workshop – September 16, 2008 (on long-term display)
- Worlds of Puppetry – November 14, 2015 (permanent exhibition)
- Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Journey to Goblin City - Sept 2, 2016 to Sept 3, 2017
- Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: World of Myth and Magic - August 31, 2018 to June 28, 2020
- Masterpiece of Puppetry: Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance - June 18, 2021 to October 28, 2021
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, a portion of which will be on display, then rotated out every six months.
The Muppet Show
1980s & 1990s
The Dark Crystal
- Center for Puppetry Arts website
- The Muppets Take Atlanta, Atlanta Magazine
- NBC 11Alive Atlanta - "Behind the curtain: Learn more about the largest Jim Henson collection - anywhere" video report ahead of the permanent collection exhibition's grand opening (2015-11-13)
- NBC 11Alive Atlanta - "The Case of the Missing Muppet" video report on why the Hoggle puppet is not part of the collection on display (2015-11-13)
- The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Behind the scenes | Jim Henson at the Center for Puppetry Arts behind-the-scenes video (2015-05-14)
- The Worlds of Puppetry: A Review of a Preview (2015-11-10)
- Yahoo Immersive virtual tour of Jim Henson's office
- Phil Kloer, “News for Kids”, The Atlanta Constitution, 13 October 1997, C03.
- "Kermit and friends get new Atlanta home" by Associated Press, July 25, 2007