Creative Work, Creative Play
Henson Family Exhibit Now Open in Connecticut
By Holly Myer and Karen Falk
Hometowns are part of our collective history. The years we live in a unique home will build our personal stories and hold precious pieces of our lives. Isn’t it incredible how an item from years ago can bring back wonderful memories from the time your family spent in a certain neighborhood?
Imagine opening a time capsule and seeing the drawings, photos, and artifacts from a family’s life over several years to see what influenced them and helped create their future. The Greenwich, Connecticut, Historical Society has done just that by creating an exhibit giving us a glimpse into one era for a creative brood that once lived there: the Henson family.
Jim and Jane Henson made Greenwich their family’s home from 1964 to 1971. This was an intensely formative and inventive period for them, both at work and while raising their children on Round Hill Road. Through paintings, objects, puppets, photographs, and film, this exhibition examines the overlap of the Hensons’ family life with their contributions as artists, performers, and parents to the early years of Sesame Street and local education center The Mead School.
The Jim Henson Company Archives department and Cheryl Henson collaborated with the Greenwich Historical Society on the exhibit, which is on display now, until October 8, 2017. It includes artwork, from Jim’s early designs for now-iconic Sesame Street characters to Jane’s paintings and sculptures. Images shown capture moments of the Henson children at play, the Hensons’ colorful home environment, and early puppet performances, all which reflect the family’s high value for imagination. Other highlights include a dollhouse built by Jim for daughter Cheryl Henson, modeled on their Greenwich home, and “Kermit #2,” the second version of Jim’s signature character, built in 1963 (lent by daughter Heather Henson). Home movies, Jim’s Sesame Street counting films, and other rare footage, along with photos and historical documents are on display as well.
If you are in the area, we hope you can go see it! Information about the Greenwich Historical Society location and visiting hours is available at http://www.greenwichhistory.org/visit.