No, this is not some new plot-line to "The Muppets ... Again!" That's still taking place over in Europe with Tina Fey as some Russian femme fatale and Miss Piggy in a wedding dress and such. This is real life.
To celebrate the would-be 77th birthday of Muppets creator Jim Henson, who passed in 1990 but whose work very much still lives on to entertain and educate the youth, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has has accepted a donation of several Muppet-centric puppets and props to put on display within its American Stories exhibit.
The pieces, used in Henson's "The Muppet Show," "Sesame Street" and "Fraggle Rock," were donated by The Jim Henson Legacy to the museum and need a little TLC before being ready for their big debut in March, 2014.
"Old Grover," for instance, is a 1967 original puppet who needed his eye glued back on and still requires some textile conservation support to make him last.
Ordinarily, artifacts are left as intact as possible, but in this case, the puppets need to be gutted of their polyurethane innards as the material is damaging to them. So, assuming the government shutdown doesn't further delay things (seriously), the collection* will be featured in a special display case called "Puppetry in America" in the early spring.
Dwight Blocker Bowers, museum's curator, stated, "We cannot believe it's finally happened. Generations of people grew up on 'Sesame Street,' and Jim Henson had an unmistakable influence on American entertainment as a whole. In many ways, these will be the real jewels of our entertainment collection."
All we know is Elmo is very, very happy.
*Included among the puppets donated are Grover, Fozzie, Elmo, Miss Piggy, Scooter, J.P Grosse, Prairie Dawn, Red Fraggle, Boober, Traveling Matt, Cookie Monster, Wilkins, Count Von Count, Rowlf, Bert and Ernie and even the Swedish Chef. More photos of the donation ceremony and behind-the-scenes of the restoration process can be found at the Smithsonian's Flickr page.