Delve into the drama of the big top and explore the hidden histories of women performers and black circus artists, as well as Sheffield’s own circus story, the changing attitudes towards animal performance, and the enduring influence of circus on popular culture.
See one of the world’s most famous circus paintings, Degas’ breath-taking Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, alongside crowd-pleasing displays bringing together over 150 objects, from glittering costumes and rare historic posters to films, archive photographs and more.
Circus! Show of Shows is a major national exhibition series created in collaboration with one of the UK’s foremost circus experts, Professor Vanessa Toulmin from the University of Sheffield’s School of English. The project is a partnership between Museums Sheffield, Norfolk Museums Service, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and The University of Sheffield Library National Fairground and Circus Archive, made possible thanks to National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The exhibition forms part of Circus 250, a UK-wide celebration of 250 years of circus in 2018.