Museum of Science and Industry auctions exhibits from closed circus

Chicago (CBS) — popular exhibition in Museum of Science and Industry is no more, but you have the chance to take home a piece of the circus.

MSI ended its nearly 50-year exhibition on September 6th.

Several circus items featured in the museum are up for auction, including a motorized diorama showing the circus parade and three ring performances, a sculptural model of a circus wagon, and a fun house mirror.

As pointed out by hyde park heraldthe MSI Circus exhibit opened in April 1973 and was originally located in the East Pavilion Rotunda before being moved to the ground floor corridor in the mid-1990s.

Potter & Potter Auctions noted that the motorized dioramas that make up some of the highlights of the exhibit were created over the decades by Chicago railroad worker Roland J. Weber.

They are “created with precise detail, featuring hand-carved animals and figures, elaborately constructed model circus tents, wagons, animal cages and ornaments, making each diorama not only a remarkable achievement of both To some extent, it’s an accurate representation of what the circus looked and felt like in the first quarter of the 20th century,” said Potter & Potter.

The Hyde Park Herald reports that Weber has sold the collection to disabled and circus fan Ken Idol. Ken Idle sold it to Sears, Roebuck & Co.

The MSI exhibition is Circus World Museum Baraboo, Wisconsin, or Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida. The Wisconsin museum helped with the research and graphic elements for the MSI exhibit, he reported to the Hyde Park Herald.

Animated miniature scenes included Sideshow, Big Top, Zoo Tents and, of course, the Ringling Brothers Circus Street Parade. MSI’s exhibit filled the room with alternating loops of music from a brass band and a carousel organ.

A miniature Calliope wagon in an animated parade at the Museum of Science and Industry’s circus exhibit. Photo from 2010.

Adam Harrington/CBS 2

These animated miniatures are all up for auction, right down to the whimsical sign that hangs in the middle of the exhibition hall.

Estimates are very different items. A mechanical coin-operated wagon and a large cat display that sat at the entrance of the exhibition for years could sell for $3,000 to he $6,00. A display showing a group of clowns who may have laid their heads for a photo could fetch between $1,000 and $2,000. Each could sell for between $5,000 and $10,000.

The auction starts next weekend, but you can place absentee bids online. Potter & Potter AuctionThe complete catalog, which also includes separate extensive circus memorabilia collections by John and Jan Zweifel, can be found here. Museum of Science and Industry auctions exhibits from closed circus

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