The Ringling Archives collects and maintains institutional records and manuscript materials that document the history of the Ringling Museum, the Ringlings and the American circus. The Archives preserves those records deemed to be of permanent historical value and serves as an educational resource for administrative and scholarly research.
The Archives includes:
- Official public records that document the history, organization and programs of the Museum.
- Personal papers of the Ringlings, consisting of annotated auction catalogues, business records and correspondence.
- Circus collection of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, circus programs, tickets, route books and cards.
- Visual materials comprising over 10,000 photographic images, as well as postcards, prints, posters, videos, and films that document the Museum, the Ringlings, or the history of the circus.
- Manuscript collections containing papers of individuals who have had a great impact on the Museum, records information about the Museum and its impact on Sarasota, the papers of individuals or families involved in the circus, and records documenting the history of the winter quarters in Sarasota.
Copyright and Reproduction
Archives staff can provide copies from the collection in many different formats. For more information about permission to publish, please contact Rights and Reproductions at 941.359.5700 ext. 1502 or email@example.com. Access to collections and permission to copy depend on the condition of the material, legal restrictions, state law and donor restrictions. Permission to quote from manuscript material for publication purposes must be obtained from the Archivist as well as from the holder of the copyright.
Learn more: Rights and Reproductions
Access and Availability
- Appointments are required and should be made well in advance.
- The Archives are open Monday thru Friday; 10a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed on all State holidays.
- The staff and volunteers:
- Provide reference service and answer inquiries
- Hold group presentations about the holdings and the use of primary sources
To make an Appointment or Inquiry:
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to:
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
The Archives are located in the Education Building on the south side of the Ringling Museum Estate off Bay Shore Road. Visitors must sign-in at the Security desk located in the lobby of the Education Building.
Donating to the Archives
We are always interested in learning about related collections that would enhance research. Our collections document all aspects of the Ringling Museum. We collect records of circus performers and workers, small family circuses, and all types of circus memorabilia. Prospective donors are invited to call, write, or visit to discuss possible donations. In accordance with IRS rules, the Museum cannot appraise donations or pay for appraisals.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as part of FSU falls under the provisions of the State of Florida "Public Records Law" (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes). Florida's policies and procedures on public records and records administration are clearly enumerated in statute and administrative rule.