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A “sensational” exhibition | Show and business in Pest-Buda

It’s well worth the effort to head out to Budapest and walk along the wild and scenic Kiscell Park Forest to the Kiscell Museum, which hosts a “sensational” entertainment history exhibition.

The milieu of the era almost strikes us as we cross the entrance framed by the title of the exhibition, Show és business Pest-Budán, and their red velvet curtain. Already then, countless period wall stickers and announcements fly us back to the time of Budapest during the Hungarian Reform Era.

Instead of ordinary events, however, we can gain insight into how the citizens of Pest spent their time then. Nowadays, spectacular entertainment may not be as successful as it once was, but the ingenious names of new stunts such as “bábgépely”, “vízgázló” or “önmozgány” (archaic Hungarian words that are not used today) make us smile even more.

Visitors can have a truly dizzying experience in the exhibition space: with the help of VR glasses, the view of Budapest opens up in the form of an interactive installation, evoking the ecstatic experience of flying with an airship. The dangerous lives of animal trainers with caged wild animals are also present during the exhibition, in the midst of luxurious circuses, spectacular magic tricks, illusions, and astonishing technical innovations. 

The stories of international performers with an adventurous life and the history of entertainment in the 19th century are told by contemporary treasures at the scientifically valuable circus history exhibition, whose artwork comes from a total of thirty Hungarian and foreign institutions in addition to the collection of the Kiscell Museum.

The exhibition entitled “Show és business Pest-Budán: kötéljárók, önmozgányok és más világszámok” can be visited at the BTM Kiscell Museum until 17 April.

Interior photos: Gellért Gombai
Object photos: Judit Fáryné Szalatnyay—BTM Kiscell Museum Collection of Small Prints

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