Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium is so much more than just a museum. From strange artifacts, live animals, hands-on interactions, and live stunt performers there is something for everyone.
In 1853, Gilbert Spaulding purchased a bankrupt dime museum in Albany, New York. The museum featured wonders from the four corners of the globe. It was complete with mummies, wax figures, sensational performers, taxidermy galore, and even a shrunken head or two. Spaulding took this museum collection out on tour with his circus.
Soon every respectable circus carried one of these eye-popping museums. They were as educational as they were entertaining for small town America. The towns these traveling museums would visit did not have a theater, museum, or zoo of their own so one can imagine the excitement they brought with them. The museums played a very important role in society. They brought wonder and curiosity to the front door of each and every American town.
Over the years, the museums featured a wide array of attractions and themes that ranged from drug-abuse exhibits to dinosaurs to even a full grown whale carcass that traveled the country in its own boxcar. Eventually, these museums would evolve into what society called the sideshow.
Today the Kelly Miller Circus is the only show that carries a museum with it. This long colorful tradition is towards the end of its life. The Wondertorium is dedicated to not only preserving the history on these traveling museums and shows but promoting the future of these enterprises.
The Wondertorium produces shows both at its museum and throughout the country that showcase both circus and sideshow artists. The shows focus on up-and-coming talent and provides them with a venue to explore their skills. In addition to live show the Wondertorium also teaches circus and sideshow workshops.