A new circus exhibit in Lincoln, Nebraska hearkens back to the golden era of traveling circus, a history that will no doubt be heavily lauded as more props and memorabilia emerges from retiring big top venues. But delving deep in to the imagery of circus history also provides a fascinating look at the social norms of an era.
These photos, posters and artifacts represent a sensation nearly 100 years ago, back when the circus still had mystique.
Trains delivered elephants, clowns and a promise of intrigue to small towns across the country. Families would ride into town on wagons to see the Feejee Mermaid and Tom Thumb of P.T. Barnum’s circuses in the 1800s. They’d marvel at daredevils, tigers and bearded ladies.
“Surprising as this sounds now, circus was the home of technological splendor,” said Ron Beadle, a member of a circus family who researches character and virtue in circuses at Britain’s Northumbria University and National Centre for Circus Arts…
Link to Full Review at Omaha World Herald