“Visions of the Circus”

– Pete and Florence Mardo, Sparks Circus, 1923. Photo by Frederick W. Glasier. Courtesy of The Ringling.– Pete and Florence Mardo, Sparks Circus, 1923. Photo by Frederick W. Glasier. Courtesy of The Ringling.

After years of planning, hard work, and countless back and forth emails, McDaniel College’s very own Communication professor, Dr. Robert Lemieux, has put together a fantastic exhibit titled “Visions of the Circus.” Currently displayed in the Rice Gallery at Peterson Hall, this exhibit centralizes on one of America’s greatest sources of entertainment of all time, the circus.

Fascinated by the topic himself, Dr. Lemieux collaborated with multiple organizations including both the Whitney Gallery in New York City and even the Smithsonian Institution in order to put together this marvelous exhibit.

“Visions of the Circus” covers everything from the various acts in the show to the travel routes, and even the jobs of the circus support staff. The colorful banners as well as numerous props and pictures easily draw viewers into the exhibit.

There are numerous nooks and partitions all littered with photographs chronicling various elements of the circus, as well as a few large props donated by the Smithsonian including giant clown shoes and an antique canvas clown costume. Perhaps the most attractive element of the exhibit is all of the original posters from the circuses. Their gaudy looks and old-fashioned text pop out with an exciting and enticing appearance.

During the gallery opening itself, Dr. Lemieux walked the guests through the entire exhibit, while explaining the various facets of circus culture as well as extra information that had learned from the various exhibit donors. His knowledgeable explanation and intriguing presentation was a joy to experience and added much depth to the exhibit.

“Visions of the Circus” will be showing in the Rice Gallery until Oct. 12, leaving students and other prospective viewers plenty of time to stop in and view the exhibit. Be prepared to be in awe of the vast collection and perhaps even surprised by the unknown facets of circuses such as the eerie side shows.

Even if you are one who is disturbed by the sight of clowns, there is still much for you to observe learn beyond the white faced jokesters. A wonderfully compiled exhibit, “Visions of the Circus” is well worth the time for a visit.