Naval Manument Tripoli Fieldguide to U.S. Public Monuments and Memorials Cabrillo
 
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Introduction
1)
Title
Jim Henson Memorial
2)
Town, State
College Park, MD
3)
ID #
1908
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
October 07, 2011
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
October 07, 2011
6)
Site Worked Last
December 12, 2011
Description
The memorial honors the person and artistry of Jim Henson: puppeteer and story wizard extraordinaire, businessman and inventive market-maker. Henson created, developed and promoted the Muppets in and for their various performance settings -- on television, up on the big screen, all around the globe. The two old friends, Jim and Kermit the Frog -- the former’s alter ego, or perhaps vice-versa – sit relaxing, recalling and reminiscing, here on the grounds of the University of Maryland. Amused, you’ll want to take a seat, edging onto their bench ever so smoothly, to try to catch their exchange. The tribute resides on the University’s campus at College Park. Henson, born September 24, 1936, in Greenville, Mississippi, was a student and graduate of the University of Maryland (‘60); here, he also met Jane Nebel Henson (’55), his first partner and the wife and mother of their five children. Henson passed away, in New York City, May 17, 1990, approaching his 54th birthday.

• The two seated sculptural pieces, Henson and Kermit, in bronze, occupy and share a granite bench. Contained by their obviously effective interpersonal dynamic, if you will, the pair is discovered in a garden, conversing amiably. The memorial’s design was the outcome of the efforts of a committee that included representation of university administration, students of the class of 1998 and the Henson family, specifically Jane Henson and Bonnie Erickson (aka Bonnie Lewis), a part of The Muppet Show’s original design group. A national competition was held by this committee to identify an artist and a design. The person chosen was sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter. He created this exchange between man and frog. Born and raised nearby in the District of Columbia, Carpenter came to discover as a teenager his affinity for, indeed his skill with, artwork, especially sculpture. In the business world, one comes regularly across the admonition to “manage by walking around.” Carpenter in his youth seems to have adjusted this insightful saying to “learning to sculpt by hanging around.” As a youngster, he hung out with stone carvers in their construction shed on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral (an Episcopal Church unit whose cornerstone was placed in 1907 and construction lasted until 1990, though carving and statuary work continued afterward). Over the 27-year period 1976-2003, Carpenter would design and create hundreds of the cathedral’s limestone sculptural adornments; additionally, through the Cathedral’s capital acquisition process, he would also discover, and provide assistance to, a mentor, sculptor Frederick Hart, whose Three Servicemen Statue stands at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. Carpenter studied at the Pratt Institute, New York, and The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He continues to teach. His sculptural output over the years has been plentiful and sustained; situated across the U.S., many of his works have been award- and competition-winners. The founder for Carpenter’s Henson is New Arts Foundry. Situated in north central Baltimore, Maryland, and working with artists and architects, New Arts for many years has produced works of fine art that employ bronze or, as indicated, various other materials. The park containing the sculpture was designed by landscape architect Philip Cho, and his program was executed by Chapel Valley Landscape Company, Woodbine, Maryland.

• The memorial is located, as noted, on the University’s College Park campus and situated in front of the Stamp Student Union building, Campus Drive at its Union Drive cross, near the Cole Field House. First chartered, in 1856, as the Maryland Agricultural College, this state school is a land grant college. The memorial’s park-like setting, therefore, with its “semi-circular beds…red-flowering shrub roses, boxwoods, and pink-flowering variegated weigela…crape myrtles…redbuds…and two towering sycamore trees,” tends to be at one with not only Henson and friend but also with the original intent of the school.

• Leading sponsors and supporters of the memorial’s creation were several. The University of Maryland’s graduating class of 1998, in the Fall of 1997, undertook an initiative to honor Henson’s achievements with a durable remembrance; its commitment and insight prevailed. This class effort, coordinated with the school’s Senior Council, was joined and supported by Jane Henson as well as the graduating classes of 1999 and 1994. These groups, in addition to their forethought, also met by means of their class gifts some 20 percent of the memorial’s needed financial resources. The University and the Adele H. Stamp Student Union Center for Campus Life, in front of which the memorial is situated, contributed the remaining needed funds. In a sweeping and elaborate public ceremony that included Henson family members as honored guests as well as student leaders and university officials -- all coordinated by TV personality Willard Scott as master of ceremonies -- the Jim Henson Memorial was dedicated September 24, Henson’s birthday, 2003.
Content
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1)
Individual|group/family recognition
2)
Outstanding/notable citizen/person
3)
Arts
5)
Caucasian
6)
Not Applicable
Design
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1.)
Man-made
2.)
Inscription/Text Design
Parallel
3)
Statue(s) w/wo pedestal
4)
Stone/rock and metal
5)
Average (life-size)
6)
Main + One
7)
Inscribed/lettered on tablet
8)
Text available, all
9)
Yes (see below)
9.1)
Image numbering/location
2700-705.1, 2700-705.2, 2700-705.3, 2700-705.4, 2700-705.5, 2700-705.6, 2700-705.7, 2700-705.8, 2700-705.9
10)
Design Preservation
Good
11)
Inscript. Separate from M|M
Yes
11.1)
Parallel Description
Tablet/Plaque
11.2)
Parallel Preservation
Good
11.3)
Parallel Scale Inscription/Text
Average (life-size)
12)
Designers
12.1)
Designer 1
Artist/Artistic Group: Carpenter, Jay Hall
12.2)
Designer 2
Artist/Artistic Group: Cho, Philip
13)
Fabricators/Builders
Known
13.1)
Fabricator/Builder 1
New Arts Foundry 
13.2)
Fabricator City
Baltimore 
13.3)
Fabricator State
MD 
13.4)
Fabricator Country
United States 
13.5)
Fabricator/Builder 2
Chapel Valley Landscape Company
Setting
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1)
Park/Garden/Lawn/Field
3)
Appearance/Setting
Completed
3.1)
Appeal of the Item
5 Good
3.2)
Setting appears appropriate
6 Very Good
3.3)
Traffic near for access, distanced for appreciation
5 Good
3.4)
Visualization and panorama
5 Good
3.5)
Opportunity to view, to enjoy the item
6 Very Good
3.6)
Overall Averaged Score
5.4 Good (Given a 1.0 - 7.0 Range)
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4)
1997
5)
September 24, 2003
6)
Not Entered
7)
Not Entered
10)
Other Monuments on Site
11)
Satisfactory
12)
Business/Commerce/Organization
Themes
1)
MonumentsandMemorials.com Themes
School Settings
2)
National Historic Landmark Themes
C & I: Arts and Sciences
Demography
Note: click on brown link to view distribution of field selections in database
1)
File Number
47A
2)
Town/City
College Park
3)
County
Prince George's
4)
District
Intentionally Blank
5)
State
MD
6)
Zip
20742
7)
Country
United States
8)
Latitude (GPS)
38.9877100000
9)
Longitude (GPS)
-76.9450800000
10)
Intersecting Street 1
Campus Dr
11)
Intersecting Street 2
Union Dr
12)
Additional Identifier 1
Henson Memorial Garden
13)
Additional Identifier 2
Stamp Student Union
14)
Links/Websites
15)
Man-made
16)
16.1)
Business/businesses
16.2)
Educational entity
16.3)
Membership Group/Public Contribution
17)
17.1)
1946-1973
17.2)
1974-2000
18)
Compilation Date (Initial)
October 07, 2011
19)
19.1)
Site Survey
19.2)
Correspondence
19.3)
Newspaper
19.4)
Promotional Materials
19.5)
Website
19.6)
Other
20)
Compilation Date (Latest)
Not Entered
21)
Compilation Technique (Latest)
22)
Source Originator
monumentsandmemorials.com
Comments and Notes
SITE MAINTENANCE: Business/Commerce/Organization -- University of Maryland
SPONSORS: Business/businesses – Student Union; Educational entity – University of Maryland; Membership Group/Public Contribution – Student classes of 1998, 1999 and 1994.
SOURCES(1): Eleanor Blau, “Jim Henson, Puppeteer, Dies; The Muppets’ Creator Was 53, obituary, May 17, 1990; Julie Dietrick, “Kermit, Henson to take a seat by Stamp Union today,” DiamondbackOnline.com, September 24, 2003; Stephen Manning, “Kermit the Frog was a Terrapin,” The News Journal (New Castle County, Delaware), September 25, 2003; Tina Margolis, “Henson, Jim,” American National Biography Online Fed. 2000, Access date: October 10, 2011;
SOURCES(2): The following articles were retrieved from the website, above, of Jay Hall Carpenter: Lee Carpenter, “Famed Sculptor Creates Saintly Dozen,” Chicago Daily Herald, September 24, 2001; Donna M. Cedar-Southworth, “Jay Hall Carpenter, A Glimpse at Grandeur,” ChesapeakeHome, March 2003.




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