John Ringling Brothers Art Museum and Vintage Circus Memorabilia, Sarasota, Florida

Ringling Brothers Art Museum in Sarasota, Florida

Partial view of interior courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida
Partial view of interior courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida | Source

Sculptures at the Ringling Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Courtyard sceneryCourtyard scenery
Courtyard scenery
Courtyard scenery | Source
Courtyard scenery
Courtyard scenery | Source

One of Sarasota's Treasures...


Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding area is home to some wonderful sights and places of interest. One treasure is the Ringling Museum of Art which was opened to the public on March 30, 1930. The Ringling Brothers who created a circus empire also developed great wealth and now visitors to Sarasota can enjoy some of what was bequeathed to the public by John and Mable Ringling.

Once, when visiting my aunt and uncle who reside part of the year in Florida, my mother and I were treated to a day of sightseeing in Sarasota. Included in this one day visit were the grounds of John and Mable Ringling's winter home which they called C`a d'Zan .

These extensive and beautifully landscaped 66 acre grounds border Sarasota Bay and include the Museum of Art and the Circus Museum in addition to their palace-like home.

The physical address is the following: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida 34243. The phone number is 941-359-5700.


Location of the Ringling Art Museum

A markerJohn & Mable Ringling Art Museum -
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA
[get directions]

Collecting art...

World renowned art was collected by the Ringling's over a long period of time . Old Master paintings representing artist's creations from around the world and going back centuries are combined with tapestries, sculptures, furniture and other items. Modern art is not neglected in this vast and eclectic collection in which items are continually being added.


John and Mable Ringling accumulated this art collection and commissioned the building of the museum with the intent of donating it as their legacy to the people of Florida.

Mable Ringling died prior to the museum being completed. When John Ringling died in 1936, he bequeathed this entire estate including their winter home, the grounds and the museum with all the furnishings and art to the State of Florida.

Ringling Brother's Circus Museum on the grounds near the Art Museum

One of the Ringling Brother's circus carriages.
One of the Ringling Brother's circus carriages. | Source
Another elaborate circus carriage.
Another elaborate circus carriage. | Source

Circus artifacts and memorabilia...


After the State of Florida assumed responsibility for the property, it was thought that it would be appropriate to include a museum showcasing circus artifacts and memorabilia since that is what helped to create the vast wealth that was enjoyed by the Ringling's.


They also added a nineteenth-century Italian theater.


Contributions as well as purchases have amassed an assemblage of things like circus posters, drawings, prints, photographs, costumes, props and some rare and beautifully carved circus wagons among other artifacts for the circus museum .

Entrance to the Ringling Museum

Entrance to the Ringling Museum
Entrance to the Ringling Museum | Source
The Greatest Show on Earth: The History of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
The Greatest Show on Earth: The History of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

I used to go to small carnivals when I was a child. Many of the entertainers probably longed to get hired by larger circuses like the Ringling Brothers who were certainly well known and made such entertainment fun for everyone.

 

Great video showing more of the art inside the museum! Photos change every few seconds...

Statuary at the Ringling Museum

"Fountain of the Tortoises in the Courtyard at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a modern copy of a sixteenth-century fountain designed by Italian Giacomo Della Porta, with bronze figures done by Italian sculptor Taddeo Landini."
"Fountain of the Tortoises in the Courtyard at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a modern copy of a sixteenth-century fountain designed by Italian Giacomo Della Porta, with bronze figures done by Italian sculptor Taddeo Landini." | Source
Also seen in the courtyard at the Ringling Museum.
Also seen in the courtyard at the Ringling Museum. | Source

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art...


The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a massive U-shaped building and it is divided into 21 rooms showing the collections of grouped art appropriate to each different era of artistic expression. Examples include Sixteenth-Century Italian; Seventeenth-Century French , and so forth. The West Galleries located at one end of the U-shaped building contains modern art and also shows special exhibitions. At the other end is the Asolo Theatre which is opened for limited engagements.


The courtyard in the center has a beautiful sculpture garden.


Wear good comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend a good allotment of time in the Ringling Museum if you wish to enjoy the legacy of art left behind by John and Mable Ringling. You will enjoy the work of famous artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Velasquez and others to numerous to mention.


If you like the memory of grand circuses such as ones that were put on by the Ringling Brother's Circus, be sure and save some time to see the artifacts in that building on the Ringling estate. Children of all ages will enjoy seeing these colorful and amusing remnants of a past era in entertainment.

Exterior views of the Ringling Art Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Courtyard - Ringling MuseumCourtyard - Ringling MuseumCourtyard - Ringling MuseumCourtyard - Ringling MuseumOn the grounds...
Courtyard - Ringling Museum
Courtyard - Ringling Museum | Source
Courtyard - Ringling Museum
Courtyard - Ringling Museum | Source
Courtyard - Ringling Museum
Courtyard - Ringling Museum | Source
Courtyard - Ringling Museum
Courtyard - Ringling Museum | Source
On the grounds...
On the grounds... | Source

Would you have a desire to visit the Ringling Art Museum?

  • Yes...and I already have!
  • Definitely if I ever travel to Sarasota, Florida
  • I would rather visit the beaches or other sites.
See results without voting

If you enjoy art and are ever near Sarasota, Florida, be sure and take the time to see this exquisitely designed and beautiful John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.


The legacy of this impressive and rich art collection is one left to not only the State of Florida, but it is one that can be enjoyed by all of us fortunate enough to be in the vicinity. The grounds are equally impressive. And be sure and stop by the Circus Museum as well. It is a treat for people of all ages!

If you enjoyed this article, please take time to give it a star rating. Thank you!!!

5 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Ringling Brothers Art Museum & Circus Memorabilia

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 27 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Richard Morris,

I do not collect circus memorabilia and have merely showcased some of the vast collection that John and Mable Ringling amassed and which is now displayed, owned and operated by the State of Florida in this hub.

Have you had your collection appraised so that you know the value? You might check to see if people are selling such things on Ebay or Amazon. You might be able to find some dealers that way who are also willing to purchase your collection. Hope this helps!

If anyone has other ideas, please leave a message in the comment section.


Richard morris 3 years ago

I have a very large circus collectables. I have collection, set of nine,tiger facts,horse facts,elephant facts. these sections hook together. I also have a banner of romeo & julitte about 50 ft.in lenght. Wondering if you would be intrested .


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi alocsin,

The Ringling Art Museum complex in Sarasota contained all types of art. I honestly don't remember if they had the circus pipe organs but I wouldn't doubt that they probably did. It has been many years since I visited there. All I know is that it is definitely worth visiting as is the Ringling mansion. Thanks for your comment and votes.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

From its appearance, you'd think this museum was only devoted to Old Masters art. It's quite a surprise to know that it contains circus memorabilia as well. I'm wondering if they have any of those traveling circus pipe organs. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello teaches12345,

Yes...for anyone wishing to see some great art collected and displayed from around the world...the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota, Florida is a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for your visit and comment.


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