The Great Coney Island Spectacularium

A site-specific installation creating a 19th century dime museum in a seaside resort. In collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein. The Coney Island Museum. 2011-2012.

Installation view “The Great Coney Island Spectacularium”, 2011

Coney Island at the end of the 19th Century was a shining beacon of theatrical excess and overwhelming spectacle. Before cinema, live entertainment was the king of attractions, and it was not confined to stages and theaters. ¬†As the site of the historic split between sideshows and museums, the resort culture of America’s East Coast was a place one could see some of the strangest and most extravagant theatrical shows and exhibitions on earth, from wax museums and “oriental villages” to recreations of gigantic naval battles and tenement fires.

This installation creates an immersive environment featuring materials from the museum’s collection as well as a recreation of the Niagara Falls Museum on the shores of the Atlantic. The piece brings a small taste of the Victorian museum and immersive spectacle back to Coney Island.

It also includes the Cosmorama of the Great Dreamland Fire.

Click here for a gallery of images of the Spectacularium

 

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