University Libraries Digital Collections

About the Collection

"Work was play, and he loved a good game." – Cheryl Henson

In January 2005, The Jane Henson Foundation and The Jim Henson Legacy generously donated videos and funding to support the creation of what is now known as The Jim Henson Works at the University of Maryland. This collection makes available to UMD’s community of students, scholars, and visitors over 70 digital videos spanning 35 years of Henson’s groundbreaking work in television and film. These full-length videos are available for viewing at public computer stations in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, McKeldin Library, and Hornbake Library.

The University provides a wide range of research opportunities into Henson's work and puppetry in the performing arts. It also hosts exhibits and websites, develops interactive interpretive content, and takes part in celebrations of Jim Henson's life.

From the very beginning, Jim Henson and his Muppets combined play and learning through singing, dancing, and acting, all with the timeless use of puppets as performance objects. It is ideal this collection resides within the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, as the Center is a leading academic institution training future performance professionals and scholars. Each resident department of the Center will find its own use for such a collection: the Theatre Department now hosts a Jim Henson Artist in Residence and offers courses in puppetry, the School of Music offers various classes in popular music and culture, and the Dance Department is known for its cutting edge performance program where multidisciplinary projects are encouraged. Yet, elsewhere on campus, this collection will also be of use to UMD’s American Studies program where studies in popular culture and humor are offered.

Really, the possibilities are endless.