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Preserving the archival collection records of historical value, encouraging scholarly research and serving as an educational resource about the Museum of Art, the Ringlings and the American circus is the mission of The Ringling Archives. The staff and volunteers provide reference services and host group presentations about the holdings and the use of primary sources.


Questions regarding the Archives and its Collections may be submitted using the Archives Inquiry form below.


Archives Inquiry 


Finding Aids

Finding aids facilitate the discovery of information within a collection of records. 

View the Finding Aids

Circus Collections

The history of the circus comes to life through the vast and varied collections in the Circus Museum.  Among the collections are beautifully printed lithographic posters, heralds, costume design drawings and other fine art prints. 

Search the Circus Collections Online 

Access to the Archives

The Archives are open to all interested users, however appointments are necessary. Located in the Circus Museum, Tibbals Learning Center, the Archives are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Archives are closed on all State holidays. To make an appointment email:

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. We collect records of circus performers and workers, small family circuses, and all types of circus memorabilia. Prospective donors are invited to contact us to discuss possible donations. In accordance with IRS rules, the Museum cannot appraise donations or pay for appraisals.


The Archives’ staff are able to provide copies from the collection in many different formats. Access to collections and permission to copy materials depends on its condition, 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. For more information consult Rights and Reproductions.