ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Mary Alice Parks report:
WASHINGTON–After a 19 year separation, one of the most famous television couples of all time were reunited today at the Smithsonian. Miss Piggy will finally be joining her beloved Kermit the Frog, thanks to a donation of 20 puppets to the National Museum of American History by Jim Henson’s family.
Other famous faces include Bert and Ernie, Elmo, the Swedish Chef, and characters from Fraggle Rock. The museum already has the first Kermit, as well as a more recognizable Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street, as well as Oscar the Grouch.
Miss Piggy’s designer and builder Connie Erickson said she knows the most famous pig in world is “very happy” to be reunited with her love, but noted, tongue firmly in cheek, “I’m not sure how Kermit feels.” She spoke of the lovely lady’s legacy.
“She has a real attitude, she thinks she’s really wonderful, she has a little bit of pizzazz and she gets her way one way or another,” Erickson said with a laugh. “Everyone seems to be endeared to her whether she deserves it or not.”
Cheryl Henson, Jim and Jane Henson’s second child, said they are “really touched” that the Smithsonian wants the puppets, which were being housed in boxes previously. They unveiled them today, which would have been Jim Henson’s 77th birthday
“To have my dad’s work placed in the context of American culture, that’s just the coolest thing,” Henson said, adding that she feels as though the puppets are members of her family.
“When I look at this table of puppets they are each one such a strong personality and I look at them and I can hear them talking,” Cheryl Henson said. “I hope that new generations will find the heart and the soul and the humor and the wackiness that was my father’s work.”
Fran Brill, vice president of the Jim Henson Legacy as well as a puppeteer most widely known for bringing to life the Muppet Prairie Dawn, said like Henson she felt like she was at a Muppet family reunion.
“It’s a big extended family like finding some cousin you didn’t know existed,” Brill said. “I would just love to hear a conversation between all of them… We think of these all as people. They don’t seem like characters on a show to us.”
Erickson, who is also the executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy, said she is most pleased that they will now be taken care of “in a way that we have never been able to until now.”
“I just can’t even express how pleased I am to have them here knowing they are in such good hands, the conservators here, the curators here are going to tell the story,” Erickson said, adding that working on the show as she did since 1970 was “as much fun” than “anybody has watching the show.”
The puppets will be on display for all fans of the show both young and old starting in December, according to Curator of Entertainment History for the museum, Dwight Blocker Bowers. Miss Piggy, always a star, will be part of the museum’s permanent “American Stories” exhibit.