A celebration of 250 years of circus in Great Britain, this exhibition shines a spotlight on the remarkable stories behind the much-loved spectacle.

As well as celebrating all the drama of the big top, Circus! Show of Shows explores the hidden histories of women performers and black circus artists, Sheffield’s own circus story, the changing attitudes towards animal performance, and the enduring influence of circus on popular culture.

Highlights include one of the world’s most famous circus paintings, Degas’ breath-taking Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando (1879), on loan from the National Gallery, alongside crowd-pleasing displays bringing together over 150 objects, from glittering costumes and rare historic posters to films, archive photographs and more.

Circus! Show of Shows is part of Circus 250, a major national exhibition series created in collaboration with one of the UK’s foremost circus experts, Professor Vanessa Toulmin from the University of Sheffield’s School of English.

Museums Sheffield: Weston Park

Western Bank, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S10 2TP

0114 278 2600


Opening times

Mon – Fri, 10am – 4pm

Sat, 10am - 5pm

Sun, 11am – 4pm

Bank Holidays 10am – 5pm

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Free to all

10% off Museums Sheffield in shop

Valid to 31 December 2019

With merchandise inspired by the city and Museums Sheffield's collections why not pick up something to remind you of your visit? Whether you’re after homeware, jewellery, toys, prints or posters the museums support original British design so you’re unlikely to find these items anywhere else.

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