Friday, May 27, 2011

The Covered Bridge Circus Saga: Part II

...I hope you haven't forgotten where I left off...

...because it's about time I finish the story of the covered bridge circus! I think you can tell why I was so fascinated by this photograph in the first place; it's a unique view that highlights two important areas of our collection--covered bridges and circus posters. As I analyzed this photo last month, I began to look more closely at the posters pasted on the inner left-hand side of the bridge. Thanks to a little careful zooming and cleaning, here's what I was able to extract:

Can you read what the posters say?

I studied these for awhile, and finally I was able to make out what they advertise! The poster on the left, closest to the viewer, advertises the Walter L. Main Circus. The one on the right announces a specific occurrence of the Walter L. Main Circus in Bellows Falls, Vermont on Wednesday, July 20th. Bellows Falls is just one of the many communities where the Walter L. Main circus performed--their route extensively covered much of New England and the mid-Atlantic.

As I continued to think about this discovery, I decided to look farther into our circus poster collection to see what I could find about Walter L. Main. Turns out, we have some Walter L. Main circus posters here at the museum! (Of course, not the ones you see in the photo but still...) Here are some examples:

3-Ring shows of "Beauty and the Beasts"

The "Main" man himself!

High-Wire artists and trained animal shows!

Speaking of circus posters, however, we've also got a lot of other great examples on display this season. The circus building is just one of our 39 exhibition buildings and it houses posters, figurines, sculptures and even a special exhibit on the circus photography of Elliot Fenander. Come check it out!

I'll leave you with one last perk about the circus building: the working Herschell-Spillman carousel!

During installation week, Monica and I were able to catch Randy, Paul and Greg setting up the carousel one morning. It's certainly a popular attraction! Maybe one of these days I'll have to take a spin...

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