LBJ Museum hosts ‘Sesame Street’ characters to celebrate National Museum Day

Mason Carroll

The LBJ Presidential Library brought in beloved characters from the PBS show “Sesame Street” to celebrate Austin Museum Day on Sunday and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Public Broadcasting Act.

The Public Broadcasting Act made shows such as “Sesame Street” possible by creating public broadcasting and radio through public funding in 1967. Entry was free on Sunday and children got the chance to meet Grover from the show, listen to live music and have story time with “The Monster at the End of This Book.”

“Our exhibit today is called ‘On the Air: 50 Years of Public Broadcasting,’” LBJ Museum communications director Anne Wheeler said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids who have seen these characters on TV to see them in real life.”

Jennifer Perry, vice president and publisher at Sesame Workshop, said the act had a positive impact on mainstream television. Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit associated with the show to promote education.

“Without the public funding that flooded into public television and radio as a result of (the Public Broadcasting Act), signing shows like ‘Sesame Street’ were able to hit the airways and become the impactful, educational entities that they are and remain today,” Perry said.

Perry said “Sesame Street” and the museum also share similar values on educating children.

“For Museum Day, the library decided to focus on one of the core missions of ‘Sesame Street,’ which is literacy,” Perry said. “We have a day completely centered around ‘The Monster at the End of This Book,’ which is the best-selling ‘Sesame Street’ book of all time.”

The TV show is widely popular, having aired for more than 48 years and in more than 140 countries and territories around the world today.

“It’s pretty amazing that this is a show that’s been around for so long,” said Jeremy Dean, who brought his kids to Austin Museum Day. “I grew up with it, and now my kids are watching.”

Perry said one of the most important things for everyone who helped in the event is the impact on the kids.

“(We) approach everything we do with a mission at heart,” Perry said. “We firmly believe that everything we do has to start from our mission, which is to serve kids and families, so that’s why we’re here and it truly gladdens my heart.”