"The Art of the Muppets made its debut at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center in New York City in 1979... Due to the exhibition's success, a touring version was created. Starting at The San Diego Museum of Art, it toured twenty additional cities, finishing the tour at London's Museum of the Moving Image in 1988."
"Jim Henson's Muppets Monsters and Magic was a traveling museum exhibit that ran from 1987 to 1995... According to the Henson archivist Karen Falk, the exhibition evolved from The Art of the Muppets, and had its final stop at London's Museum of the Moving Image in 1989, though further venues are known."
How do these fit together? The Art of the Muppets ran from 1979 to 1988, and then evolved into Muppets Monsters and Magic, which ran from 1987 to 1995? And they both had final stops at London's Museum of the Moving Image, one year apart?
Yeah, there's a sentence in there that says "Almost ten years and twenty venues later, the exhibit, with a new name, The World of Jim Henson, had its final showing in London at the Museum of the Moving Image."
Muppets Monsters and Magic was apparently also known as "The World of Jim Henson: Muppets, Monsters and Magic", so I guess that's where the "evolved into" comes from? But it doesn't explain the rest. I'm going to look in the history and see if I can figure it out.
Here's one thing from Jim's Red Book:  "9/15/1988 – ‘Art of the Muppets opens at the Museum of The Moving Image in London.’"
I think it opened at the Museum of the Moving Image in London in 1988, and closed in 1989 --- which would explain the mistake around 1988/1989 between the two exhibits. It looks like somebody got confused about that, and also about the connection between the two exhibits.
The World of Jim Henson: Muppets Monsters & Magic (also in German)
Jim Henson's Muppets Monsters & Magic
As far as I can tell, these names overlap each other.
1979-1986, various: "The Art of the Muppets"
Nov 1987-Jan 1988, Frankfurt: "Die Welt von Jim Henson: Muppets, Monster & Magie"
Sept 1988-??, London's Museum of the Moving Image: "The World of Jim Henson: Art & Animatronics" -- Red Book posts say this is the last stop for "The Art of the Muppets," which has now changed into "The World of Jim Henson". (We have no artifacts that just say "The World of Jim Henson".)
March 1990-Sept 1990, West Yorkshire: "Jim Henson's Muppets Monsters & Magic"
??? Nothing between Sept 1990 and Feb 1994
Feb 1994-May 1994, Sausalito: "Jim Henson's Muppets Monsters & Magic"
June 1994-Aug 1994, Berlin: "Die Welt von Jim Henson: Muppets, Monster & Magie"
Oct 1994-Jan 1995, Warrington: "The World of Jim Henson: Muppets Monsters & Magic"
May 1995-Sept 1995, London MOMI again: "Jim Henson's Muppets Monsters & Magic"
So it's hard to separate these. I think there are several possibilities, none of them very good.
Explanation #1. "The Art of the Muppets" starts in 1979, changes to "The World of Jim Henson: Art & Animatronics" in 1988, closes late 88 or early 89. A separate, overlapping exhibit, "The World of Jim Henson: Muppets Monsters & Magic," (sometimes called "JH's Muppet Monsters & Magic") debuts in Germany in 1987, runs through 1995. This explanation means that the first exhibit used two names, and there's a second exhibit that overlapped by a year or two.
Explanation #2. "The Art of the Muppets" starts in 1979, changes to "The World of Jim Henson: Muppets Monsters & Magic" in Germany in 1987, changes again to "The World of Jim Henson: Art & Animatronics" in 1988, closes late 88 or early 89. A separate exhibit, "The World of Jim Henson: Muppets Monsters & Magic" (sometimes "JH's Muppets Monsters & Magic"), starts in 1990 and runs to 1995. This explanation means that the first exhibit used three names (Art of Ms, TWOJH:MM&M, TWOJH:A&A), the second used two names (TWOJH:MM&M, JH'sM&M).
Explanation #3. There's really just one exhibit, which ran from 1979 to 1995, sometimes changing names back and forth starting in 1987. This is contradicted by Karen F's repeated references in Red Book to the original exhibit closing at London's MOMI in 1988.
I don't know what to do with all this. Anybody have ideas?
Whew, that's a lot. I can't wrap my brain around it at this moment, but I did want to offer the reminder that a lot of these exhibit pages have additions throughout the article's history that were added by folks from memory. For example, someone remembers a Muppet exhibit making its way through their local museum one time when they were a kid, and maybe they still have the button to prove it, or maybe they think they had it in storage, but their mom sold it in a yard sale or whatever.
What I'm saying is that some of the dates may not be accurate, or may correspond to different, similarly named, traveling exhibits.
Yeah, I only listed the items where there's a picture to back it up -- posters and fliers and stuff.
There's one bullet point where I list the three items that don't have anything to back it up. I know that at least one of those is in the wrong place -- the Art of the Ms page says it's a date that K.Falk doesn't know about, and that would make more sense if it was on the other page. I'm going to write to the people who posted those items and see if they have anything to back it up.
Hi, just seeing Toughpigs' question to me on my wall, about my claim of "The Art of the Muppets" being at London, Ontario in 1990, after the show had ended according to Karen Falk.
The post was based on the year of my family's personal photos from the exhibit. Unfortunately, I don't know how many photo of the actual exhibit there are, as opposed to me dressing up in a nook at the end. (I believe that was the local museum adding content in a common area outside of the exhibit.)
What I do remember--though I may just be Brian Williamsing--is that there was a wall mounted case with Muppets in them, and they had small holes underneath from which you could wiggle them about. This may be completely off the mark, though.
I did contact the museum around 2010? They had no idea about the show, and working in a museum/art gallery/archives myself, I know how limited corporate memory can be. I'll try reaching out again, see if they can dig in their files. (The local newspaper in London is not digitized, and only indexed by personal names.)
Just looking through the Toronto papers (Star, Globe), there's mention of the Ontario Science Centre visit of The Art (and one brief wire story about it's San Diego stop), but no mention of the Muppet Monsters anywhere in either newspaper.
To complicate matters about titles, I just discovered a brand new subscription database that my library has, ProQuest eLibrary. The Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) has about "The World of Jim Henson -- From Muppets to Monsters", June 17-September 10, 2000. It mentions a different, unnamed Henson exhibit there in 1998.
I actually have an account for newspapers.com, which has like 4000 newspapers from the US. I can probably verify any of the lists gradually, secondary sources. I've added a bit, like how the second venue's acting director went to school with Jim.
It says The Art of the Muppets went to 19 cities from 1980 to 1986. (We currently list 15, so we're missing a few.)
Then it says: "Following the success of The Art of the Muppets tour, a new exhibition, The World of Jim Henson: Muppets, Monsters & Magic was created. Unlike The Art of the Muppets, this exhibition was designed to be an international touring show because, by 1987, when it was created, the Muppets had achieved worldwide recognition. This exhibit expanded to include characters from newer Henson productions, including Fraggle Rock, the Muppet movies, and The Dark Crystal... Muppets, Monsters & Magic was honored as the first temporary exhibition of The Museum of the Moving Image in London and opened at that museum with a special ceremony officiated by H.R.H. Prince Charles. Concurrent with this tour there were two smaller exhibitions entitled The Vision of Jim Henson. One toured internationally until 1998, and the other continues to tour in the United States in an updated version incorporating many of the country's newest productions."
So that makes sense -- almost all of the stops that we list as 1987 and later are in Europe and Canada, with one US stop in Sausalito.
The international tour, "Muppets Monsters and Magic" started in Frankfurt in Nov 1987, then went to London's Museum of the Moving Image in Sept 1988 - 1989. Then there were stops in Canada, England and Germany, ending at London MOMI in 1995.
The reason that we got confused is because Jim Henson wrote the wrong name down in his Red Book. :) For Sept 15, 1988, Henson wrote: "Art of the Muppets opens at the Museum of the Moving Image in London". That was actually the international tour, but Henson had been calling the exhibit "Art of the Muppets" for 8 years by that point, and it's an easy mistake to make. So Karen Falk wrote in the Jim's Red Book blog and Imagination Illustrated that Art of the Muppets closed in London in 1988, when that was actually the second stop of Muppets Monsters & Magic.
I'm pretty sure that fits all the facts that we have, unless someone comes up with more info. I'll update the pages with all this soon.
Sorry for the long delay in replying. I totally forgotten about the message you sent me. Regarding Muppets Monsters and Magic at The City Arts Council Centre, Scotland in 1989, I think I've read about online somewhere. Also it is possible it was printed was some merchandising. Some merchandise was specially made including postcards and booklet and it may have the printing copyright on there - I'll have to check. Hope this info helps :)