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Novell, who was Henson’s publicist for more than 20 years, said the puppeteer was a history buff and fond of the Smithsonian.

Other puppets from Henson’s collection will eventually be given to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta to create a Henson gallery there, perhaps as soon as 2014, Novell said.

Still, the Hensons plan to give the Smithsonian about a dozen more puppets in the years to come, possibly including a Miss Piggy to join her boyfriend, Kermit. Part of that will depend on plans by the Walt Disney Co., which has owned rights to the Muppets since 2002.

“We would like very much to get them out while they’re still in relatively good condition,” Jane Henson said. “I think when you grow up in Washington, you get the feeling that everything important in the country goes to the Smithsonian.”

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Online:

National Museum of American History: http://americanhistory.si.edu/