Thursday, July 14, 2016


In our quest to find signs of Ol' Florida we left lovely Punta Gorda and traveled along the coast in a northerly direction through some of the beautiful white sandy beach towns along the West Coast of Florida to such seaside communities as Venice, Nokomis, Osprey, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, St. Armands Key, and Lido Key.  It is difficult to see the Gulf of Mexico driving down the highway parallel to the water because most of the waterfront property is now occupied by gazillion dollar homes,  and when you find a public access there may not be a parking place.
Historic Venice, Florida
Siesta Beach #1 Beach USA
St. Armands Key - time to SHOP!
Longboat Key, FL  
Last year RV and I visited the summer headquarters of the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Historically, the Museum was most interesting,  to say the least, but when we arrived in Sarasota and noticed The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as well as the Ca d'Zan ("House Of John"), we decided to go to the "free on Mondays" Ringling Museum Of Art and it turned out to be an enjoyable and informative afternoon.  Renovations to the home are being done on the second floor at this time.
Ringing Brothers Circus - Baraboo, Wisconsin
Summer Headquarters
The 5 Ringling Brothers
known as Kings Of The Circus World
The Ringling Museum of Art - Sarasota, FL
The Ringling Museum Of Art Courtyard - Sarasota, FL
The Ringling Museum Of Art Courtyard- Sarasota, FL
In the 1920s, John Ringling was considered to be one of the wealthiest men in the world.  He owned oil fields, railroads, ranches and vast amounts of land throughout America.  Ringling speculated in the Florida land boom buying and developing land in the Sarasota Keys.  In 1925, circus impresario John Ringling decided to build the Art Museum - a pink, Renaissance-style palace with 21 galleries enclosing a courtyard graced with iconic sculptures.  Also in the 1920s John and Mable Ringling traveled to Europe every year to locate new circus acts and make purchases of art objects.  In 1930 the Museum was finally opened featuring European paintings, paneled rooms from the Gilded Age Astor Mansion in New York, and ancient and medieval objects purchased from distinguished collections.
Furniture/Walls/Decor from Astor Manson
from New York City
One of 3 rooms from Astor Mansion
from New York City
Fireplace and walls from Astor Mansion
from New York City
Sarasota is fortunate the Ringlings chose two monuments to their fascination and interests:  The
Ca' d''Zan and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 66 acres overlooking Sarasota Bay.  The Ringling's legacy was John 1866 - 1936, and Mable 1875 - 1929.  Between the years 1925 and 1931 Ringling acquired more than 600 Old Master Paintings.
Old Masters Paintings - The Ringling
Sarasota, Fl
Bronze Sculpture - The Ringling
Sarasota, FL
When John Ringling died in 1936 an inventory reflected approximately $3 million was spent on the art collection.  After the final tally, taking about a decade to resolve,  a $14 million price was placed on the value of the art collection and $27 million for the estate.  John Ringling, once one of the world's wealthiest men, died with only $311 in the bank.

Upon John Ringling's death in 1936 the entire estate, including the Museum, was bequeathed to the people of Florida.  Many museum directors and individuals have contributed to the success the Museum enjoys today and to the fulfillment of John and Mable Ringling's dream of a great cultural center on Florida's West Coast.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum Of Art
Sarasota, FL
Circus Museum and miniature collection
The Ringling - Sarasota, FL
Beautiful Landscaping
The Ringling - Sarasota, FL
Lush Grounds inside The Ringling Grounds
Sarasota, FL
The State of Florida took possession in 1946.  In 2000 the State of Florida transferred stewardship of The Ringling to Florida State University, establishing one of the largest and most unique university cultural facilities in America (more than 150,000 square feet), including the art museum, circus museum, the Ringling's mansion, the historic Asolo Theatre.  New additions to the campus include the Visitor's Pavilion, the Education, Library, and Conservation Complex, the Tibbals Learning Center complete with a miniature circus, and the Searing Wing, a 30,000 square foot gallery for special exhibitions attached to the art museum.  After years of prevailing odds it looks like the Ringling acquisitions help make the greater Sarasota area a cultural and educational center and is now known as the State Art Museum Of Florida.  Based on past and future expansion projects, THE SHOW WILL GO ON FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ENJOY!!

No comments :