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The Greatest Show On Earth Gallery to open in April at The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota

The Ringling, located in Sarasota, Florida preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to the Circus Museum, Museum of Art, Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, and the Historic Asolo Theater.

The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota

The Ringling Circus Museum will premiere its newest exhibition space, The Greatest Show On Earth Gallery, on the second floor of the Tibbals Learning Center on April 6, 2024. This latest addition to the museum celebrates the era of modern circus that began with Irvin Feld’s purchase of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1967.

The Greatest Show On Earth Gallery modernizes the museum’s expansive history of the circus by exploring the first fifty years of the Feld family’s stewardship during which the spectacle of the show brought the circus experience to new heights.

 The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota

The new exhibit continues the story, found throughout the Circus Museum, of how Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey grew to become one of the most well-recognized brands in the world. The gallery space is designed to evoke the excitement of seeing a live show, while also representing the full spectrum of the production experience from both front- and back-of-house perspectives. Visitors can explore artifacts, costumes, and media footage in an engaging and multisensory experience throughout the exhibition area.

The arched entrance to The Greatest Show On Earth Gallery is crowned by a brightly lit Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey sign, an artifact donated by Feld Entertainment Inc., that traveled across the country with the touring show. That iconic marquee invites visitors to continue past the circus history timeline and enter the new exhibit space, which consists of three sections.

The first explains the history of the Feld family and the evolution of Feld Entertainment Inc. through important artifacts related to the Feld family’s transformation of the circus business. The second room in the new gallery, which includes an interactive media component that features more than 120 circus acts, provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the show came together each season from concept development to execution. The entire experience culminates with the third section, an exciting mixture of multimedia and three-dimensional presentation that conveys the spectacle and thrill of circus performance.

As Feld Entertainment Inc. relaunches Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey across the U.S. in 2024, the history contained within the museum’s newest gallery is more relevant than ever.

“We find ourselves at the perfect moment to open these galleries, to contextualize the living history of the show and to update the museum’s interpretation of the history of the circus in America,” says Jennifer Lemmer Posey, Tibbals Curator of Circus at The Ringling.

The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota

Access to the Circus Museum is included with Museum Admission. Be sure to visit the The Howard Bros. Circus Modelin the Tibbals Learning Center and John and Mable’s magnificent turn-of-the-century private railcar the Wisconsin, located in the Historic Galleries.

You will discover the The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota FL 34243.

Entry to the museum includes entry to the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, and Bayfront Gardens. Adult: $25, Age 6-17: $5, Under 6: Free.

For more information click here.

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The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota

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