Jim Henson exhibit extends stay in Albuquerque after pandemic forces early closure

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Museum is hoping to open in June and get people back to one of its most popular exhibits, the Jim Henson exhibit. The attraction honors the creator of pop-culture classics including The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Dark Crystal. The exhibit opened in late November and brought in 28,000 visitors in its first five weeks. It was only open for ten weeks when the pandemic forced the museum to temporarily close down.

The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, have been such a part of so many generations lives that there were a lot of people that just felt that they were gypped by not having an opportunity to go down memory row and see some of these great icons from their childhood or even their adulthood,” Andrew Connors, museum director, said.

The exhibit is still in the museum even though it was supposed to wrap up April 19. Connors said most exhibits see a surge in visitors towards the end and estimate the museum and Jim Henson exhibit lost about 9,000 visitors due to the pandemic. With a $5 surcharge for adults to see the exhibit and children 12 and under able to go for free, that can add up to thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

“With that surcharge it does add up and it does become significant funds that the museum and city are able to use for other projects,” Connors commented but added, “It’s really not about making the money, it’s about bringing opportunities to New Mexico.”

Despite the popular exhibit closing before its end date, there is some good news. The Jim Henson exhibit will now stay at the city’s museum through the end of summer until August 30.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have negotiated an extension of the exhibition,” Connors said. “The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City was very willing to let us keep the exhibition because they couldn’t send their staff from New York to de-install it and we couldn’t have our staff install it.”

The museum does have to pay a fee for that extension. It wouldn’t share what that fee is but said it expects to make enough money over the summer months to easily cover the costs. When the museum does open safety precautions will be in place. It plans to require social distancing and masks, remove interactive and high-touch exhibits, and require guests to book a time to visit before coming to the museum. The Jim Henson exhibit isn’t expected to move to another town until October where it is scheduled to go to Nebraska.

The city’s Biopark is also looking to reopen in June with limited capacity and closed indoor attractions including the Penguin Chill and Aquarium.

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