Jim Henson's Muppets adopted by Smithsonian Institution

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - With the stroke of a pen, Jim Henson’s most popular characters from the Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and Sesame Street, were officially adopted by the Smithsonian Institution.

They now belong to the nation.

"You can hear their voices, you can hear them in your heads, they're like living beings," said Cheryl Henson, daughter of Jim Henson.

Until now, Cheryl says many of her father’s creations had been sitting for decades in cardboard boxes. She hopes that donating them will carry on his legacy even further.

"He loved to laugh and he wanted to help other people have that sense of joy,” she said.

A few of Henson’s longtime colleagues and collaborators were on hand for the donation.

Fran Brill puppeteered “Praire Dawn” on Sesame Street.

“You watched the show, your children watched the show, your grandchildren watched the show, and these characters become very real family members," she said.

In November, many of these Muppets will go on a temporary display about puppeteering. Then in March of 2014, Miss Piggy in all her glory will be reunited with Kermy in the exhibit, “American Stories.”

"I wonder if he knows she's coming," laughed Bonnie Erickson, Director of The Jim Henson Legacy.

Erickson helped build and design several Muppets, including Miss Piggy, whom she calls “a trailblazer.”

“I mean she's always been ahead of fashion," she laughed.

In fact, the Smithsonian recently released photos of Miss Piggy exploring her new home, even wearing the actual Hope Diamond! And now that she’s coming back together with her favorite frog, the museum is bracing for big crowds.

"I can already see the noses pressed against the plexiglass," said Dwight Blocker Bowers, Curator at the National Museum of American History.