Feb 1, 2010

The Ringling Museum

If you haven't been to the Ringling Museum, it is a must see, and offers far more than just circus exhibits (which includes the largest circus-themed miniature diorama you'll ever see). There is the huge mansion, the gardens, and galleries filled with priceless works of art. The link to my Webshots album is at the end of this post if you want to see the pictures, but here is a taste of why you should visit. Click on each picture for a larger view.

The world's largest miniature circus sits in one building, occupying 3,800 square feet, and was created over a period of 50 years by model builder Howard Tibbals. Visitors walk around the diorama, while ambient sounds of the carnival play in the background. Thanks to my new camera equipment, I was able to take pretty good pictures.

The diorama has 8 tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 

animals and a 59-car train.

In another building are circus wagons and vehicles in the Ringling Museum of the American Circus, the first museum of its kind. Since so many people from the circus wintered in Florida, the collection grew quickly.

The Ringling mansion, called Ca d'Zan (roughly translated from a Venetian dialect of Italian as "The House Of John") is the Ringling home where John and Mable Ringling lived when in Florida. Mable Ringling was the primary contact for the construction of the mansion and decoration of the interior.

The mansion was completed in 1926 and was modeled after the Venetian Gothic palaces which were admired by the Ringlings, who spent much time traveling to Europe.

You can clearly see the Venetian influences in the design; lavish parties were held here, with the Ringling's yacht moored to the terrace, aboard which an orchestra entertained guests.

The buildings housing the art collection have the feel of Venetian palaces themselves. In 1925 Ringling commissioned a building to be designed to house his art collection. Construction began in 1928 and in 1931, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art was opened to the public

Ringling was a fanatical art collector, and his collection is one of the largest art museum libraries in the Southeast United States, with over 70,000 holdings

To see the entire album, visit my Webshots album HERE.

This Link takes you to the official site of the Ringling Museum, in case you want to visit, and you should!

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