The front room

Burlesque in New England & Highlights from the Collection

The Front Room provides a look at local burlesque history, from "Her Majesty" Ann Corio and The Old Howard Theatre to the work of legendary costumer Hedy Jo Star.  Also featured in The Front Room is our extensive collection of costume pieces and artifacts from the life of Lynne O'Neill, "The Original Garter Girl".


















Photo: Ann Corio in her dressing room at The Old Howard Theatre c 1936.  Photo by Leslie Jones.

Rotating Exhibits

May 1 - July 31

The Fantasy of the Fan Dancer

An Original Frankart "Fan Dancer" lamp c.1930

An Original Frankart "Fan Dancer" lamp c.1930

Starting in the 1920s, the Fan Dancer leapt off the stage and into the hearts and minds of American culture.  The iconic figure of the fan dancer appeared as a design element in everything from automobiles to nightlights, and was a ubiquitous trope in movies, novels, and popular culture.

See the fan dancer in her all her glory and learn all about the ladies behind the fans in this multimedia exhibit.  The display includes rarely seen footage of Sally Rand and Faith Bacon,  art deco treasures, and home decor – all bearing the indelible stamp of the Lady With The Fans!

May 1 - June 30 

¡Viva Estriptís!

Candy Baby Caramelo reclining on a couch.

Candy Baby Caramelo. Photo: Stephanie Diani

While there were clubs that presented exclusively Asian or Black performers,  dancers of Latina heritage (or pretended to be) were able to take the mainstream stages alongside white performers.  As a result, the history of Latina performers in  Burlesque is often lost or overlooked.

This exhibit highlights several key performers from Spanish-speaking countries, including Cuba's Marinka, "Queen of the Amazons"; "The Argentinian Firecracker" Fanne Foxe (who has particular ties to Boston); and cult film darling, Kitten Natividad, who was born and raised in Mexico.