Delve into the Sesame Street universe at Hamburg’s MK&G

Hamburg’s MK&G presents ‘Sesame Street: 50 years and counting’, an immersive exhibition (until 7 January 2024) celebrating the show’s influence and its design

Sesame street exhibition in hamburg: muppets in twin beds
Sesame Street regulars Ernie and Bert
(Image credit: Courtesy MK&G)

‘Sesame Street: 50 years and counting’ is a new exhibition at Hamburg’s MK&G (until 7 January 2024) exploring the influence of the popular American TV show. The exhibition offers an insight into the show’s creation, and focuses on its arrival in Germany in 1973. 

First aired in 1969, Sesame Street was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, and featured a novel entertaining format that combined storytelling with educational content. In the show, human actors played alongside Jim Henson’s Muppets. 

‘Fifty years ago, Sesame Street brought a keen curiosity about the world in all its facets into children’s homes,’ says Senator for Culture and Media, Carsten Brosda. ‘But the show also gives children a voice and has over the years changed our society. The exhibition takes us behind the scenes to explore how the puppets and costumes were developed and which creative minds were involved.’

 Sesame Street, the exhibition 

Sesame street exhibition in hamburg, muppet on sofa

(Image credit: Courtesy MK&G)

The exhibition takes over 700 sq m within the museum, where visitors are invited to dive into the world of Bert, Elmo and Cookie Monster, while exploring the show behind the scenes. The displays focus on the show’s design, with special attention to the craftsmanship behind the production, exploring the creation of puppets, sets, costumes and music. 

Sesame street exhibition in hamburg: muppet in chair

(Image credit: Courtesy MK&G)

Celebrating a show that brought diversity, acceptance, education and modernity to thousands of homes, the exhibition’s nine chapters look at different areas of the show’s design, from the context within which it was viewed in the 1970s to specific elements of the characters and costumes.

Sesame street

(Image credit: Courtesy MK&G)

‘For the first time ever, an exhibition looks at Sesame Street from the point of view of design,’ says MK&G director Tulga Beyerle. ‘The makers of the show get a chance to speak up, providing fascinating insights into the production of this unique entertainment format. As a collective cultural asset, Sesame Street reflects ongoing social change. The innovative talent displayed by the producers thrills me, and the design approach today is as inspiring as ever on the path toward an open and tolerant society.’ 

‘Sesame Street: 50 years and counting’ is on view at MK&G until 7 January 2024

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
20099 Hamburg

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.