With April 6 opening, ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ gallery to update The Ringling’s history of American circus

Exhibit to be located on second floor of Tibbals Learning Center

Image courtesy of The Ringling

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, the art museum staff has announced.

“This latest addition … celebrates the era of modern circus that began with Irvin Feld’s purchase of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1967,” a news release explains. “The Greatest Show On Earth Gallery modernizes the museum’s expansive history of the circus” by exploring the first 50 years of the Feld family’s stewardship, “during which the spectacle of the show brought the circus experience to new heights,” the release adds.

The new exhibit will continue 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 release continues. Visitors will be able to explore artifacts, costumes and media footage, the release notes.

“This exhibit will serve as a dynamic testament to the vitality and innovation of modern circus,” Steven High, executive director of The Ringling, said in the release.

“The late 1960s was a critical period for the circus,” Jennifer Lemmer Posey, the Tibbals Curator of Circus at The Ringling, explained in the release. “Just a decade before, Ringling Bros. had stopped performing under the big top and had moved their shows to indoor venues,” she continued. “Without the magic of the circus lot, Irvin Feld understood that they had to work twice as hard to fill those familiar arenas with immersive and breathtaking spectacles,” Lemmer Posey added.

“The Felds did so by introducing lavish costumes and scenic elements combined with the latest technologies in lighting and sound,” she said. One room in the new gallery, which will include an interactive media component featuring more than 120 circus acts, will provide “a behind-the-scenes look at how the show came together each season from concept development to execution,” the release points out. The experience will culminate with the third section of the gallery, which will provide a mixture of multimedia and three-dimensional presentations to conveys the spectacle and thrill of circus performance, the release notes.

As Feld Entertainment relaunches Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey across the U.S. this year, the release adds, “the history contained within the museum’s newest gallery is more relevant than ever.”