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Revision as of 22:07, January 11, 2011

Leland mississippi
Cloudforest
Song of the Cloud Forest Muppets on display at the museum

Leland, Mississippi is a town in Washington County where Jim Henson attended elementary school until the late forties.

A special Jim Henson exhibit is housed in the Washington County Tourist Center/Leland Chamber of Commerce in Leland, Mississippi. The Exhibit was given by The Jim Henson Company as "a gift to the people of Leland." It opened in August 1991 as The Jim Henson Memorial and Muppet Museum.[1] The exhibit features a tableau honoring Kermit the Frog's birth on Deer Creek, photographs from the Henson Family Album, early Henson Co. Christmas Cards, letters from Jim Henson, and a video center with many of Henson's early works.

A separate room is filled with Muppet memorabilia - donated from the personal collections of many individuals.

The highlight of the exhibit is a replica of Kermit, donated to the Museum for permanent display. He is posed sitting on a log playing his banjo in the Mississippi swamp. Located in a large glass display case, it is the centerpiece of this small Museum.

The name of the exhibit has since been changed to Birthplace of the Frog: An Exhibit of Jim Henson's Delta Boyhood,[2] and Leland now bills itself as "Birthplace of the Frog and Home of the Blues." [3] Interestingly, Henson was actually born in nearby Greenville, and the Henson family lived in Stoneville, an adjacent unincorporated community where Henson's father worked as a USDA agronomist (Henson attended elementary school in Leland, because Stoneville had no schools of its own.) Furthermore, Henson created his first Kermit puppet while living in Hyattsville, Maryland, and the original Kermit was not a frog but rather a lizard-like character of indeterminate species.[4]

A recent addition to the museum is a collection of the puppets from the special "The Song of the Cloud Forest", which originally aired on The Jim Henson Hour in 1989. These puppets are on loan from the Jim Henson Legacy. Among the puppets on display are Milton and Ruth.

The gift shop features many items featuring the Leland Mississippi logo with Kermit. A gigantic plush Kermit is also available to pose for pictures with you to remember the event.

On October 18, 2005, the United States Postal Service held a ceremony for the Jim Henson and the Muppets postage stamps that featured a "Birthplace of the Frog Station" pictorial cancel. Although the cancel bears the and name and Zip code of Leland, MS, the ceremony actually took place in Stoneville.[5] Cheryl Henson was in attendance and later signed copies of her book It's Not Easy Bein' Green: And Other Things To Consider at the Birthplace of the Frog exhibit in Leland. Henson also dedicated the new Song of the Cloud Forest display for the exhibit.

References

  • The character of Mr. Dawson, Kermit's old acting coach, is from Leland, Mississippi.

Sources

  1. NYTimes, LEE A. DANIELS, September 2, 1991
  2. jimhensonlegacy.org
  3. Official website of Leland, MS.
  4. Jim Henson: The Works
  5. USPS Press release

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