The Muppets Take the Smithsonian Museum (VIDEO)

03/23/2014 at 01:15 PM EDT

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Kermit and Miss Piggy

Kevin Winter/Getty

It's not easy being felt. (Or rubber.)

The Henson family donated 20 Muppets to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., last summer, and getting the aged props ready for their debut has been a project worthy of Beaker and Dr. Bunsen.

"They were not pristine," Dwight Blocker Bowers, the museum's curator, says in the video above. "Because they had been stored in a warehouse, and dust and age had taken its toll."

"They were not created to last forever," Blocker Bowers continued. "That they have lasted is rather remarkable."

While the Smithsonian has long featured Kermit as one of its exhibits, the new collection adds Sesame Street characters like Bert, Ernie, Elmo and the Count to the group, as well as the real star of the show: Miss Piggy.

The museum had to replace worn material on the Muppets' exteriors, and gave a few of them Hollywood-worthy cleanses as well: Decades-old duct tape, wire and foam rubber (since disintegrated into dust) were pulled out of the puppets before they were displayed.

But now it's time to put on makeup, it's time to dress up right, because it's almost time to raise the curtain on the Muppets in the Smithsonian.



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