While more than 20 Muppets were donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Tuesday – honoring the late Jim Henson's birthday – it was Miss Piggy who really made a splash.
Ever the model, the Muppet posed for a spread in Smithsonian Magazine wearing the Hope Diamond – another gem in the Smithsonian's collection – and ogling Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, before appearing with her fellow Muppets at the museum.
The Muppet Count Von Count.
"I bet she's really happy," says Cheryl Henson, daughter of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, of Piggy being reunited with Kermit, also part of the Smithsonian's collection. "Kermit is the only Muppet who's on 'Sesame Street' and is also on the 'Muppet Show,' so I think that it's wonderful for him to see Miss Piggy, but also wonderful for him to see the 'Sesame Street' characters as well," Henson added.
Coming to Washington from the "Sesame Street" cast are Bert and Ernie, Count Von Count, Grover and Cookie Monster, while "Muppet Show" alumni include Swedish Chef, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf and Scooter among others.
A Miss Piggy Muppet used on "The Muppet Show."
Many of the donated puppets are some of the earliest iterations of the famous Muppets of today. "This Cookie Monster...actually ate IBM computers before he ever ate cookies," Henson said of the particular puppet donated. The Grover is greenish, not blue, and appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show," before being used on the first season of "Sesame Street." Later Grovers were blue. The Smithsonian's Rowlf the Dog was one used to sell Purina dog food in the 1960s, before becoming a staple on "The Muppet Show."
"Many of these puppets have been in boxes for years," Henson said. "And we don't want them to stay in boxes, we want people to see them and to appreciate them."
Muppets Cookie Monster and Grover.
Henson also told Whispers that she felt that adding these new Muppets to the mix helped explain the "Sam and Friends" puppets that already reside in the museum. "Sam and Friends" was an early show created by Jim Henson. "The original 'Sam and Friends' characters are really cool, but for people who are just walking through the Smithsonian they might look at them and say, 'oh, it's just a bunch of puppets.' They don't know," Henson said. "So we felt they needed the context of the famous Muppets and the famous 'Sesame Street' characters to understand who the 'Sam and Friends' characters are."
(From left) Muppets Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, and Swedish Chef.
As for her favorite Muppet, Henson thought she had an easy answer. "I would have to say that Kermit is my favorite because he's so close to my father's own personality," she said. "Although, before my father passed away I would say Grover, because he's so funny," she continued. "And when I was younger it was Robin Frog because he was a little Kermit," she said.
The first of the Muppets from Tuesday's donation will be put on display in February 2014.