May 2010 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Rare Circus Posters

Really cool news from the Northeast Document Conservation Center -- conservators at the Andover facility have finished working on a set of late nineteenth-century circus posters that were found pasted to the boards under the siding of an old house. The posters were affixed to a Colchester, Vermont house in 1883, when the circus came to town.

The house's owner donated the posters to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. Conservators there found the safest way to remove the posters was to take them, boards and all. In early 2010, the NEDCC treated the posters and found yet another clown in the car, so to speak. Several more advertising posters from other circuses were pasted underneath the top layer.

The posters are now on display as part of the Shelburne Museum's new exhibit, Circus Day in America, through October 24. Through art, artifacts, photographs, and film, Circus Day in America looks at the art and experience of the circus during its heyday from 1870-1950. (The image pictured above was published by the Strobridge Litho. Co. in 1882. Courtesy of Shelburne Museum.) An operating vintage carousel operates daily at the museum too; in other words, families welcome! Plus there's also an Ansel Adams photography exhibit going on at the same time.

To read more about the step-by-step conservation of the posters, visit the NEDCC website, or watch the Flickr slideshow.