Join Deborah as she takes us through the 250 years of the American  Circus and the role of which Florida played.

Deborah W. Walk, is the Tibbals Curator of the Circus Museum and Curator of Historical Documents, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Walk almost immediately boasts of the epicenter that is the American Circus. “The world of the circus is incredible”, she prophets, and she wants everyone to understand the cultural impact the circus has had on United States history; and more specifically, Florida.

“Ringling is awonderful brand in it of itself”, Walk states, and its history is rich with tradition that almost speaks for itself! Deborah journeys through nearly 250 years of the history of the American Circus, and its evolution into what it is today. From competition between circuses, to revolutionary tent construction, to the circus during the Great Depression, to finally the new “Enduring Legacy” building, located in Sarasota, Florida.

“The circus is a purely American institution.”

“The circus is a drop of water from Ponce De Leon’s spring. It takes people back to childhood for two hours, and makes them boys and girls again, makes them forget as nothing else will do” - John Ringling, 1919

This program was made possible with support from the Tampa Bay History Museum and the Osher LIfelong Learning Institue at USF.


ccculturebuildsfloridaClosed captioning for this program has been made possible by support from
the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs
and the Florida Council on Arts & Culture.