The James A. Michener Art Museum announces fantastic attendance with its current special exhibition in the new Paton / Smith / Della-Penna Fernberger Galleries. "Jim Henson's Fantastic Worldwith about three weeks still left of its runhas already garnered nearly 42,000 visitors, surpassing the Museum's record of 38,000 visitors during Ansel Adams: Celebration of Genius, the 2006 exhibition of prints by the famed photographer.
On view at the Museum through November 29, Jim Henson's Fantastic World is an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and The Jim Henson Legacy. The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson's talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets, television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work, and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson's early career and experimental films. A resource room, featuring a puppet theater and other activities, offers hands-on activities for children of all ages.
"From adults nostalgic for the puppeteer's commercial work and quirky Muppets, to young children just getting acquainted with his beloved Sesame Street characters, a steady stream of visitors have discovered the imaginative artistic process behind Jim Henson's television programs and films," explains Hollie Brown, Director of Operations and Visitors Services. "Despite the high attendance, we've never had to turn away anyone seeking tickets. The spacious new Syd and Sharon Martin Wing makes for a wonderful visitor experience at the Michener."
According to Brown, Jim Henson's "Fantastic World" has also been a huge draw for area school groups. Since the opening of the exhibition, over 3,400 students and chaperones have experienced the Museum for free courtesy of The Rose Group, a restaurant management company which owns and operates over fifty Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Twenty-five school tour groups are still scheduled to visit before the close of the exhibition. Additionally, since the opening of the exhibition on September 12, 256 teachers have attended educational workshops at the Museum.
The Museum has also seen a spike in its membership with 477 new members signing on since August 1 when tickets for the exhibition first went on sale. Members do not have to pay Museum admission or purchase timed tickets for Jim Henson's Fantastic World.
Throughout the run of this special exhibition, the Museum has hosted a wide variety of related programs and events. Still to come is "Jazz Celebrates Henson," a special family concert featuring jazz vocalist Barbara Walker on Sunday, November 22 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The Philadelphia native is known for recording the "Sesame Street" classic song that teaches the consonants "B", "D" and "M." Tickets and additional information is available online at www.MichenerArtMuseum.org
Jim Henson's "Fantastic World" is the first exhibition in the Museum's new Syd and Sharon Martin Wing. The opening of the wing in September 2009 signaled the completion of the first phase of the Museum's expansion and renovation program first announced in April 2007. In addition to the new 5,000 square-foot Paton / Smith / Della-Penna Fernberger Galleries, the expansion includes new curatorial and administrative offices, a new art storage and handling facility, as well as new climate control systems for the entire museum.