The Fred Rogers Archive is home to a colorful collection of art pieces, some made by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood viewers as fan mail and some made to be used as props on the television program. The chalk drawing shown here was used during the week of programs about competition in 1981. Big Bird visited the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to submit this entry in a drawing contest. We are very lucky to have this item in the archive. It is an artifact of one of the most famous Neighborhood programs and evidence of the connection between Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Big Bird’s visit to the Neighborhood was actually a reciprocal visit. Mister Rogers had visited him on Sesame Street earlier in 1981. There he talked with Big Bird about imagination and winning and losing. Thus, it was appropriate for Big Bird to appear on the Neighborhood week about competition. The competition was not only in the form of the art contest, but in the jealousy Henrietta Pussycat felt over Big Bird’s visit; she felt she had to compete for X the Owl’s affection because he was so excited about meeting Big Bird. After some important talk, all three realized they could be good friends.
This drawing is stored in the Fred Rogers Archive with other over-sized items. Though it is usually kept in a large acid-free box, sometimes it can be seen through the windows that look into the Archive Storage Room. Archive visitors enjoy seeing this and the other visually appealing items that supplement the collection of Fred Rogers’ papers.