With the release last week of Muppets: The Green Album (Muppets songs re-imagined by everyone from Weezer to Andrew Bird) and the forthcoming release of The Muppets (with Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Jack Black, Katy Perry, and Zach Galifianakis), Jim Henson’s lovable characters are not just back, they’re also hipper than ever. Today, see where Henson, who died in 1990 at the age of 53, found the inspiration for all his splendid creations at Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, a 3,500-square-foot exhibit showcasing more than 120 artifacts, including drawings, storyboards, and props. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the show includes artifacts from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Dark Crystal, to name a few. Guided tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., and screenings and special programs will take place throughout the run of the show.

Sat., July 16, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: July 16. Continues through Jan. 16, 2011

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