Science at the Fair

Science took central stage during nineteenth-century fairs

Travelling show people as disseminators of scientific knowledge and visual culture? In so-called anatomical cabinets, zoological and anthropological museums and scientific theatres, itinerant show people demonstrated ‘wonders of nature’ and spectacular scientific developments at the annual fair.

The EU-funded SciFair project performs pioneering research on the role itinerant show people played in the circulation of information about scientific and technological advances at fairs in western Europe between 1850 and 1914. The project starts from the hypothesis that fairs during this period were not only local folk events but also centres of international exchange. The SciFair team analyses practices of science performance across national frontiers and maps transnational networks in western Europe.

SciFair is a five-year research project (2021-2026) funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 948678 - SciFair).