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Washington has kick-started the careers of many celebrities ranging from Tori Amos to Howard Stern, from Duke Ellington to Kermit the Frog. Jim Henson originally created the Muppets as characters for a local Washington children’s show, Sam and Friends, on which the famous frog made his first appearance in the mid-’50s. Throughout the years, Henson’s genius with puppetry created magic for millions of children who grew up watching Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History provides a look behind the scenes of the Muppets and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in “Muppets and Mechanisms: Jim Henson’s Legacy.” See the original Kermit and other well-known Muppets, as well as Henson’s spookier animatronic figures from the movie The Dark Crystal. The exhibition is on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (see City List for other dates) at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 633-1000. (Kristen Berg)