Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Roadside Attraction: Dead Frog Circus - Holyoke, MA

Dead Frog Circus
Holyoke, MA

N 42° 12.302 W 072° 37.055

Short Description: 

The Dead Frog Circus is located in the carriage house visitors center of the Wisteriahurst Museum at 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA.

Long Description:

This glass encased diorama was created by naturalist Burlington Schurr in 1927. It consists of a number of taxidermied frogs, and several rats and turtles positioned as circus performers and spectators. On the left is the circus frog band. The center has frogs performing acrobatic stunts, some perched on turtles and rats. On the right is an audience of frogs.

A sign at the exhibit explains the history of the frog circus.

Burlington Schurr, a naturalist, was born in Chatham, New York in 1884. After an education in the public schools in Pittsfield, MA, Schurr began his career as a naturalist with an exhibit of mounted animals for the Cleveland Public Library. He furthered his reputation by writing and lecturing on nature.

When civic leaders finalized plans for a museum on the second floor of the Holyoke Public Library, Schurr was asked to arrange the exhibits and be the museum curator. The Holyoke Museum opened February 1927 and Schurr was its curator until his death in 1951.

Under his leadership, the Holyoke Museum became a home-away-from-home for thousands of city youths wishing to learn more about wildlife and nature. Schurr used both mounted and live specimens to teach children about animals.

The Frog Circus is one of Schurr’s most popular works. Over 70 years old, it was exhibited at the opening of the Holyoke Museum in 1927, and has been viewed by thousands of curious visitors.

Open on Saturday 12:00 - 16:00 - call 413-322-5660 to confirm hours.

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