The Ringling Museum, besides being home to a prestigious design school, was also the home of John and Mabel Ringling, of the Ringling circus. The estate is home to the fabulous Ringling mansion, inspired by Venetian architecture, which sits on the water, as well as huge galleries filled with priceless works of art and one of the largest dioramas in the state of Florida.
Below: the mansion is clearky influenced by the architecture of Venice
Below: the ballroom of the mamsion, with ceiling panels depicting various dancing scenes
Below: detail of one of the ballroom ceiling panels
The main living room area of the mansion, with a balcony on the second floor accessed by the bedrooms
Below: detail of the underside of wooden table in the breakfast room, adjacent to the kitchen
The colored glass panels of the mansion offer a kaleidoscope effect in the sunlight
Below: the view from John Ringling’s bedroom, overlooking the rear terrace and the bay in Sarasota
Mabel Ringling’s bedroom
Below: One of the largest dioramas in the state of Florida depict a small turn of the century town being visited by an enormous circus. Visitors walk around the scene, lights dim then come back up again, and circus sound effects play. It is the highlight of a visit to the Ringling Museum.
The huge galleries house priceless works of art; one could get lost in these huge areas.
There are lots of circus exhibits; animal trailers, posters, props, costumes, and even more dioramas, including these figures, which stand about an inch to an inch and a half tall
This building houses circus wagons, a workshop where wood was carved into the ornate details affixed to the wagons, and a train car used by Ringling when traveling the country. He sure knew how to ride in style!