The museum also commemorates a number of other circuses formerly based in Wisconsin.
In 1954, John M. Kelley, a former attorney for the Ringling Brothers, incorporated Circus World Museum with the intent of forming a museum of the Ringling Brothers Circus and circus history in general. By this time the popularity of circuses and other live shows was declining greatly in favor of new mediums such as television. After an initial period of organization and fundraising, the museum was able to acquire a large site in Baraboo that included the former wintering grounds of the Ringling Brothers Circus. This site was deeded to the Wisconsin Historical Society to be used as the museum's location, and Circus World Museum opened to the public on July 1, 1959.
From 1992 to 2003, there were two wagon carvers named Rick King and Cap Jacobs. In their 11 years they restored almost all the wagons at the site, loaded the train, and helped in the daily parade. Rick King also drove the model T ford in the daily parade around the grounds.
Ringlingville consists of the remaining buildings of the original wintering grounds of the Ringling Brothers Circus, a National Historic Landmark. Buildings in Ringlingville include the Ring Barn, Elephant House, Animal House, Baggage Horse Barn, Winter Quarters Office, and Wardrobe Department. Tours of Ringlingville present information both on the history of the Ringling Brothers Circus as well as offering behind the scenes glimpses into the efforts taken by the circus while preparing for shows.
The Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall is the museum's largest building, and houses exhibits on the history of the Ringling Brothers Circus, as well as other exhibits relating to general aspects of circuses and circus history.
The Hippodrome is a permanent big-top which houses the museum's daily circus and magic show performances.
The W.W. Deppe Wagon Pavilion houses a collection of fifty restored antique circus wagons.
The C.P. Fox Wagon Restoration Center is used by the museum to refurbish Circus Wagons, and visitors to the building can view in wagon restorations that are in progress.
The Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center is a research facility holding collections of circus-related books and artifacts that include thousands of items including original photographs, posters, manuscripts, and etc. The library is open to the public at no charge while staff are present.
FROM BARABOO TO BIG APPLE CIRCUS WORLD MUSEUM WAGON TO APPEAR IN MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE.(LOCAL/ WISCONSIN)
Nov 20, 2001; Byline: Richard W. Jaeger Regional reporter BARABOO -- One of Circus World Museum's antiques, the Columbia bandwagon, will appear...
'BIGGER AND BETTER' THE FUTURE OF CIRCUS WORLD MUSEUM IS LOOKING BRIGHT AND THE NEW MAN IN CHARGE, FORMER STATE LEGISLATOR STEVE FREESE, IS GETTING THE LION'S SHARE OF THE CREDIT.(FRONT)
May 08, 2007; Byline: GEORGE HESSELBERG email@example.com 608-252-6140 BARABOO -- Before Steve Freese entered the center ring last...