Entertaining the 1800s

Freaks & Sports?

Mass Entertainment in the 1800s

The main audience for an art exhibit or musical and theater performance was the wealthy. The mass entertainment that appealed to a larger audience came around near the end of the 18th century. Technological advances and communication technologies made for more lavishing shows and greater publicity. Once people began to work less due to reduced working hours, people started to pursue leisurely activities.


Amusement Parks

Amusement Parks began to pop up across America due to the development of electricity. New York City's Coney Island amusement park opened in 1895 and became the most famous with it's mechanized rides. It was considered exotic as it had performers come from across the globe.

adults and children alike would enjoy small games such as bingo and cards

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"Freak Shows"


In 19th century America, gawking at people who were born with deformities was not only socially acceptable -- it was considered family entertainment.

P.T. Barnum made millions off his “freakshows” that brought together of people considered to be curiosities -- bearded ladies, tattooed men, the severely disfigured, and the abnormally short and tall.


Baseball has an origin on 1840s and was played by children and little leagues.

Basketball was developed in 1890s

American Football had existed but mostly existed in colleges

Soccer sprung up in the mid-1800s in England

Cricket, Tennis, and boxing are more popular sports that were being played in this time period