Over New Year's my husband and I visited the Ringling Circus Museum. I fell in love with the miniature circus model. I think you would too. The tiny people, the big tents, the amazing number of small circus animals all done to scale and in great detail.
The Circus Miniature and Interactive Galleries are housed in the Tibbals Learning Center. You will be giddy when you walk into the 3800 square foot room filled with the Howard Bros Circus Model. The design and set-up is based on the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus as it presented its Big Show in 1919-1938. The model is 3/4 inch-to-the-foot scale featuring eight circus tents and 42,000 objects--including the 7000 tiny folding chairs that seats the circus goers under the Big Top. The photo taken below was taken from the second story of the Tibbals Center looking down on the miniature circus. Notice the twinkling lights because this shot was taken as dusk falls over the circus-scape. After a few minutes, the house lights are brightened for a daytime look at the circus.
You can spot the big top circus tent (center right) where all the magical performances in the three center rings are displayed. Sadly my photos cannot show you the craftsmanship and detail by the artist, Howard Tibbals, circus historian and philanthropist. He has worked on this model over fifty years and continues his work in its present day permanent location at the Tibbals Center. (Yes, he toured with it. Can you imagine packing this model up and then setting it all up over and over again in another location? His work is truly a delight to see.)
|Unloading supplies from the train and pulling it to the circus location.|
|Fruits and veggies for the circus workers and animals. Ordered way ahead of time to be sure to have 1000 pounds of meat each day!|
|Dining tent--no paper plates and cups or dishwashers in 1918!|
|Side show and vendors keep the crowd happy before the Big Show begins.|
|Remember the Bearded Lady and the two-headed horse? LOL|
|Animals in their cages waiting to perform their very special acts.|
Whether you have never been to a circus or if you are an aficionado of this exotic performance art, you will love the Ringling Circus Museum. The artifacts, posters, memorabilia are everywhere to bring back the feel of the circus days. After visiting this museum, I wonder if you may want to run away and join the circus and be a clown. Brenda Marshall is a professional clown. You can find out all about how she became a clown in the e-book about careers, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women.
Check out more information about this amazing place to visit in Sarasota, Florida, the Ringling Circus Museum.