These days, the phrase "going green" means something completely different than it did back in the '70s. For many of us, the green craze blossomed with our first glimpse of lovable Kermit the Frog, on stage with say an equally affable Linda Ronstadt or John Denver. We adored our amphibian friend then, and even this generation of hard-to-impress youngsters finds him hard to resist, along with the green guy's colorful comrades: Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, the Sesame Street Gang, and all the rest.
The man behind these well-known and much-beloved characters is the subject of "Jim Henson's Fantastic World," a wildly popular SITES exhibition touring the country until 2011. So far, this exhibition has been a huge hit, not only because we all have a soft spot for Kermie but because of well-planned special events, programs, and fund raising efforts.Recently Smithsonian National Board member, Gay Wray, hosted a grandparent/grandchild day at the Arizona Museum for Youth, for example, recently hosted a grandparent/grandchild day as an introduction to the exhibition. About 20 families participated in the event, which included a bouncy but memorable bus ride to the museum, a hot and cheesy hamburger lunch, and a surprise visit from the "Magic Fairy," who effortlessly granted wishes with one swish of her wand. Of course, the exhibition itself wasn't too shabby either as wide-eyed fans gawked in front of the real Kermit and a host of other puppets.
"The most rewarding thing," said development officer Jennifer O'Keefe, "was that most of these kids had never been to the museum or even any museum. In the case of one painfully shy visitor, the puppets and hands-on activities encouraged her to open up a little. By the end of the day, she was laughing and participating right along with the other kids."
That, my friends, is what it's all about, and I think Kermie would agree.