52 for 150: What’s So Special About Your Library’s Schoenhut Circus Collection?

It’s week 52 of our Kansas Sesquicentennial video series—our last video for this project, and as toys can be such a part of the holiday scene, we thought we’d wrap our year-long video series with a look at our antique Schoenhut Circus collection.

These toys date back to the early 1900s. Children could collect them and stage their own “play” circus, complete with clowns, animals, ladders, balls and a variety of other props. The figures are moveable, jointed with heavy rubber cord and painted in bright enamel colors.


About 52 for 150

Every object has a story, and stories build history. To celebrate 150 years of Kansas statehood we’re featuring 52 objects (or collections of related objects)—something new each week throughout the year—from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s 130-year-old special, and permanent collections, that represent our collective state history and cultural diversity.

Our collections are available for teachers, students, researchers and general interest, and we hope this online video program will provide insight into what’s so “special” about Special Collections. Your library’s commitment to collecting art and preserving local history makes it possible for users today and in the future to have immediate access to invaluable research material and cultural artifacts.

To make an appointment to see our Schoenhut Circus collection, or get help finding books and videos related to this topic, call or stop by the Sabatini Gallery (785-580-4515). We’re located on your right just beyond the Library rotunda entrance.

Heather Kearns

I've been the Sabatini Gallery's associate curator since 2004 and social media coordinator since 2008. My passion is helping people “get“ art, and by that I mean creating an environment both in-house and online which fosters a greater understanding, confidence, and sense of enjoyment from the art experience. Art should be easy to access and available to everyone. I take helping people very seriously.