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May 26, 2017

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Museum asks fans of Kermit, Elmo to help pay for exhibit

NEW YORK -- A museum is asking fans of Jim Henson's Muppets to help pay for an exhibition featuring original puppets of beloved characters like Elmo, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

The Museum of the Moving Image launched a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday seeking $40,000 to help preserve the puppets for posterity.

"Jim Henson's work has meant so much to so many people, myself included," actor Neil Patrick Harris says in a video on the Kickstarter page. "His humor and inventiveness have inspired people to find their own creative voices."

The Queens museum owns hundreds of Henson puppets and other objects including costumes and props, all donated by Henson's family in 2013. Henson died in 1990.

Museum staff members are working to conserve the items along with Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which was founded by Henson in 1979 and carries on his work, and fine-arts conservators.

Curator Barbara Miller said the museum has never turned to crowdfunding before but it made sense for the Muppet exhibit "because the community of fans is so active."

"This is one element of an effort to cross the finish line for fundraising," Miller said.

Donors will get perks including T-shirts, artisanal chocolate and naming rights to a puppet pedestal.

Museum officials are hoping to open the exhibit this summer.

Besides the puppets, the exhibit will feature rarely seen video footage and photographs going back to Henson's early work in television in the 1950s.

A traveling exhibition using objects from the collection will open May 20 at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

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