The Magnetic Circus

Eli Whitney Museum

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2018 Summer Program

A network of railroads established the American Circus. By 1871, trains transported Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey’s
performers, animals, and tents from city to city bringing its attractions to huge audiences. That epoch ended a year ago. New networks had grabbed the public’s attention. The circus life no longer seemed fair for animal performers.

The spirit of the circus remains. Construct your own small show. Gather (literal) attractions from around the world. Magnets will make your performers spin, swing, juggle, tumble, and prance. Master the strength and properties of electromagnets, ceramic and rare earth magnets. Build them into colorful acrobats, aerialists, animal trainers, jugglers and clowns.

Circus performers develop their acts with practice. With practice, you will draw from our performers artful and unexpected moves.

At the end of each show, your circus will fold neatly into a small suitcase ready a next performance. Alexander Calder created the most renowned suitcase circus 80 years ago in Paris. His art will guide us.

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