Great Coney Island Spectacularium To Kick Off In April

An artifact from the Congress of Curious Peoples exhibit (Source: Coney Island USA)

If you think Coney Island is all sorts of wild now, you should have seen it 100 years ago.  Coney Island was once a place filled with unforgettable freak shows and spectacles that would be controversial today.

A typical day in Coney Island between 1890 and 1915 would mean seeing shows that included everything from live fires to hundreds of midgets to real premature babies. A year long series of exhibitions, performances and lectures hope to capture everything that Coney Island was back then.

The Great Coney Island Spectacularium, an installation by artists Joanna Ebenstein and Aaron Beebe officially begins on April 9, at the Coney Island Museum at 1208 Surf Avenue. (We say officially, because the first series in the event – The Congress of Curious Peoples actually opens April 8).’s got a nice wrap up:

The exhibition will consist of a variety of elements, each opening at a different times over the exhibition’s year-long run: A curiosity cabinet inspired installation exploring these attractions through artifacts and images; The first authentic dime museum in Coney Island since the world-famous Eden Musée closed its doors in 1923; a spectacular immersive cyclorama commemorating the 100th anniversary of New York’s second most devastating disaster, the burning of Dreamland on May 27, 1911; and an ongoing series of spectacles and performances including The Congress of Curious Peoples, a 10 day series of performances and lectures about curiosity and curiosities broadly considered; a performance of Grand Guignol inspired Victorian horror; and much more.

The Coney Island we’re familiar with today keeps us amused, sure.  But it pales in comparison to the shock value of Coney Island 100 years ago. Come see why Coney Island isn’t so easily forgotten.

For more information regarding the exhibition or events, visit, or check out the list of events on Facebook.


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