Waterloo Region Museum’s exhibition “Circus! Science Under the Big Top” runs until May 5. Created by the Ontario Science Centre, Circus! is both an educational and interactive exhibit. Among the twenty exhibits, Circus! portrays how the wonderment of the circus depends on the power of science.
Before technology shaped popular culture, the circus was the main source of entertainment for small towns like Water- loo at the turn of the century. The circus also allowed for citizenship; individuals once labeled “outsiders” were the main source of amusement. The exhibition highlights the cultural relevance of the circus by showcasing the history through participatory, yet educational exhibits.
I had the pleasure of visiting, and al- though Circus! is mainly family-oriented, I believe this exhibit has something to offer to all ages. Although I did feel quite dorky participating in most of the exhibits, being a bit older than the target audience, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Upon entry, I tested my knowledge on circus animal feces in “Who Dung It?” Sadly, to my dismay, I could not identify any correctly. Redemption came quickly as I exceeded expectation in the tightrope simulation. Designed to replicate the technical difficulties of tightrope walking, I smugly balanced myself for ten seconds.
The next exhibit to further boost my confidence required me to push as hard as I could on a bar to test my feat of strength, which surely rivaled anybody under the age of twelve. Sadly, I was not victorious, failing miserably at the contortion exhibit, which includes a video of a contortionist folding herself into a tiny little box. I gave up after two tries and concluded that I will leave the body bending and folding to the professionals.
The next two exhibits required me to wear a harness. The High Wire exhibit and the Elastic Trapeze were the most in- teractive exhibits at Circus! and were my favorites. The attentive and knowledgeable employees safely strapped me into my harness and told me to walk along the suspended wire, three feet off the ground. I did have some trepidation, but calmly walked back and forth, not falling once.
The Elastic Trapeze was designed to replicate how physically demanding and tech- nically complex the trapeze is. Strapped in a different harness, I was elevated off the ground and told to bounce up and down in the air. The staff informed me that those who are brave will attempt a back flip and I proudly concluded my time at the Circus! with two impeccable back flips.
A word about the museum itself: Waterloo Region Museum encapsulates the past and present of the Kitchener-Waterloo Region. To truly understand the historical significance of the museum, one must visit and experience the deep-rooted culture. Waterloo Region Museum is built on the Huron Road, which was constructed in the 1800’s. The main foyer is partially walled in glass to showcase the railway crossing, which was built in 1871.
Waterloo Region Museum is the entrance for Doon Heritage Village; spanning over sixty-acres, the village portrays life in Waterloo during 1914.
Overall, Circus! Science Under the Big Top was very enjoyable, I encourage everyone to take time out of their busy schedules and visit the Waterloo Region Museum. A Tuesday morning spent at the museum was a great way to channel the inner child we so often forget is within us.
Waterloo Region Museum is located at 10 Huron Road in Kitchener.