One of the amazing discoveries we made on our trip to Ringling Museum | Circus Museum, were that these ornate wagons featured the hand carvings of the Ringling artist.
Our self-guided walking tour took us through the workshops where these works of art were created. It was a little weird (to see the partially completed and unpainted works), a little awesome (to see what the artist saw as he whittled away the block to expose the art beneath) combined with spectacular (seeing the finished works of art and to have experienced the journey from start to finish).
The circus was self-sustaining. There was no outsourcing in those days. If they needed something, they didn’t buy it, they made it! If there was an obstacle, they would overcome it. Life in the circus was hard, but you never saw it from the outside, you only saw the smiles of the clowns and felt the magic in the air. (I would suppose that if you close your eyes, you can almost hear the circus music and feel the excitement of the circus you experienced as a child, even today.)
It was a city on “wheels” or “rail” with their own cooks, barbers, seamstresses and carvers /artists (and the list goes on, after all, it was a self-supporting city and everyone had at least one job, if not three). The show that you saw under the tent, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface lay the well-oiled machine that made the circus a success.
If the opportunity poses itself, I would suggest you take the trip back in time and enjoy the wonders that await. You can find other photos from our visit in my previous post, A little clowning around in Sarasota, Florida!
Let me share with you the most important thing I have discovered. Where ever you go, whatever you see, share it with others! Don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses, to share a smile with a stranger, a meal with friends and build memories together that will last a lifetime!
All photographs in this post were taken by the author, Bill McQueen, amateur photographer, food enthusiast and sometimes traveler.