Hannah Cushing wore this gown in May 1858 at a command performance in London before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The occasion? Her husband Joseph’s “Cushing Circus” which was touring England. Joseph Cushing (1818—1884) was a circus pioneer with 40 animal acts and a sideshow of “freaks”. His was the first American circus to go abroad. The Cushings lived on Dover Point Road when they weren’t traveling, and many of the animals and circus carnies spent the off-season here. Tom Thumb was a frequent guest! Local folks would visit the Cushing farm to see lions and tigers in their winter quarters, and see the Colonel’s house-trained, clothes-wearing pet orangutan who ate at the table with knife and fork.
Location: On temporary display in the Woodman/Fosters room