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Weird and Wonderful : The Dime Museum in America - Andrea Stulman Dennett

Weird and Wonderful

The Dime Museum in America

Paperback Published: 1st October 1997
ISBN: 9780814718865
Number Of Pages: 214

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Dioramas and panoramas, freaks and magicians, waxworks and menageries, obscure relics and stuffed animals--a dazzling assortment of curiosities attracted the gaze of the nineteenth-century spectator at the dime museum. This distinctly American phenomenon was unprecedented in both the diversity of its amusements and in its democratic appeal, with audiences traversing the boundaries of ethnicity, gender, and class. Andrea Stulman Dennett's Weird and Wonderful: The Dime Museum in America recaptures this ephemeral and scarcely documented institution of American culture from the margins of history.

Weird and Wonderful chronicles the evolution of the dime museum from its eighteenth-century inception as a "cabinet of curiosities" to its death at the hands of new amusement technologies in the early twentieth century. From big theaters which accommodated audiences of three thousand to meager converted storefronts exhibiting petrified wood and living anomalies, this study vividly reanimates the array of museums, exhibits, and performances that make up this entertainment institution. Tracing the scattered legacy of the dime museum from vaudeville theater to Ripley's museum to the talk show spectacles of today, Dennett makes a significant contribution to the history of American popular entertainment.

Industry Reviews

Every once in a while I relish the privilege of reading something interesting, well written, and truly informative, like NYU's Stern School of Business. . . . [It represents] a remarkable amount of research and is organized in a most readable style. The interspersion of personal wit and humor adds an informality to what could be a very dry subject." -William F. May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc and Former Dean, NYU Graduate School of Business

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
The Origins of the Dime Museum, 1782-1840p. 1
Barnum and the Museum Revolution, 1841-1870p. 23
The Peak Years: From the Civil War to 1900p. 41
Freaks and Platform Performersp. 66
Lecture Room Entertainmentsp. 86
Waxworks and Filmp. 106
The Dime Museum Reconfigured for a New Centuryp. 124
Epiloguep. 144
App. A: Chronologyp. 149
Dime Museumsp. 151
Notesp. 155
Selected Bibliographyp. 179
Indexp. 193
About the Authorp. 200
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814718865
ISBN-10: 0814718868
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 214
Published: 1st October 1997
Publisher: New York University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.81 x 15.27  x 1.47
Weight (kg): 0.3