CHICAGO (CBS) – Popular exhibition at Museum of Science and Industry are gone, but there will be a chance to bring a piece of the circus home.

MSI closed its circus show last Tuesday after nearly 50 years.

Several exhibits from the circus on display in the museum are put up for auction. These include motorized dioramas of circus parades and three ring performances, carved models of circus wagons and fun home mirrors.

As noted Hyde Park HeroldMSI’s circus exhibition opened in April 1973 – and was originally on display at the East Pavilion rotunda, before relocating to the ground floor corridor in the mid-1990s.

The Potter and Potter auctions revealed that the motorized dioramas, some of the highlights of the exhibition, had been created over several decades by the Chicago railwayman Roland J. Weber.

They have been developed “down to the smallest detail and feature hand-carved figures of animals and people, as well as perfectly constructed models of circus tents, wagons, animal cages and accessories that make each diorama both an extraordinary achievement and, to some extent, a faithful representation of it. how the circus looked and felt in the first quarter of the 20th century ”, according to Potter and Potter.

The Hyde Park Herald reported that Weber sold the collection to a disabled veteran and circus fan, Ken Idle, who in turn sold it to Sears, Roebuck & Co. Sears first borrowed the MSI collection but later donated it, the newspaper reported.

The MSI exhibition brought up a scaled down version Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin or Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida. The Wisconsin Museum helped with research and artwork for the MSI exhibition, reports the Hyde Park Herald.

Animated miniature scenes included a show, big top, menagerie tent and of course the Ringling Brothers Circus Street Parade. At MSI, organ music from the brass band and the carousel played alternately in a loop that filled the room – changing as the miniature fashion car and calliope car passed the parade track.

msi-calliope-wagon.jpg
A miniature caliope car on an animated parade at the circus exhibition of the Museum of Science and Industry. Photo from 2010.

Adam Harrington / CBS 2


All these animated miniatures are put up for auction – along with the rest, right down to the fancy sign that hung in the center of the exhibition hall.

Estimates very much for different items. The mechanical coin-operated wagon and the large cat display, which had been in the vestibule of the exhibition for many years, could cost anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000. A display showing a group of clowns where you could put your head in a photo shoot can cost anywhere from $ 1,000 to $ 2,000. According to Potter and Potter, a motorized circus parade and a big top can cost anywhere from $ 5,000 to $ 10,000.

The auction starts next weekend, but now you can place an offer for the absentee online via Pottery and potter auctions. Full catalog, which also includes a separate and extensive collection of Jan and Jan Zweifel circus memorabilia, can be found here.

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