Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The lost museum


The Lost Museum--a virtual reproduction of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, the pre-eminent cultural institution of nineteenth century America--has been created by the American Social History Project in collaboration with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and produced at the New Media Lab at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanitites and others, the website includes a QuickTimeVR 3-D tour of the original building, complete with exhibition close-ups; a searchable archives with posters, pamphlets, and original guidebooks to the attraction; and a section for teachers and students that includes essays on a wide variety of topics, including "Barnum's American Museum," "Urban Popular Culture in the Age of Barnum," and "Fame and Fortune: The Marketing of Celebrity."

The literature of wonder is a great interest of mine, and this resource contains a wealth of material on the topic. Go ahead: gawk at the Siamese twins and the FeJee Mermaid!



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