The world’s greatest showman Phineas Taylor Barnum has come to Sheffield! Well considering he died in 1891 this isn’t exactly true but almost. Humbug is the first exhibition to make use of the new Exhibition Gallery at the University of Sheffield’s Western Bank Library and this past weekend I brought some of the family over to take a look.
Barnum, the showman, the circus proprietor, the impresario, famed for his traveling circus and hoaxes (humbugs) like the Feejee Mermaid and Tom Thumb was the first circus owner to move his circus by train and credited with being the pioneer of the modern entertainment industry. Whilst mainly associated with his circus sideshow and display of freaks Barnum also commissioned Jenny Lind’s American tour and set out to change attitudes about the theater from ‘dens of evil’ to palaces of edification and delight.
I was particularly interested in hearing what my grand-parents made of it all and they were suitably impressed with the exhibition on a whole. The celebration of 200 years of Barnum includes bannered artwork from Mark Copeland (of the Insect Circus Museum) and the most amazing/creepiest sculpture of all time by Anthony Bennett. Have a look at my Flickr photostream for a taster but better yet come down and have a look! The exhibition is on until May 30th 2010 and is open daily – Monday to Friday 9 til 9 and weekends 9 til 6.
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