Take A Peek Behind The Big Top At The Tampa Bay History Center This Summer

By Kathy L. Collins

If you love the circus, and who doesn’t, you will love the newest exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center, Circus! The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier. This exhibit is open to the public now through August 4. The Tampa Bay History Center is located at 801 Old Water St. in downtown Tampa (next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum). If you have not been to this jewel of a museum, come and see it this summer.

The collection of more than 60 rare black and white photographs are on loan from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. The photographs show the working life of circus performers in the early 20th century. You will see photographs of ticket takers, sideshow performers, contortionists, clowns, acrobats and more.

Photographer, Frederick W. Glasier traveled with Ringling Bros, the Sparks Circus and the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show during the early 1900’s through the 1930’s. The photos capture life behind the scenes and show the humanity and spectacle of the American circus during its heyday.

Manny Leto, Director of Marketing said, “We strive to bring a variety of exhibits to the History Center from Hollywood action costumes to spy paraphernalia to photographs of Florida wildlife.” Leto added, “This is a great partnership with the Ringling Museum. The photos are exciting and something that you do not get to see everyday.”

Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator for the Tampa Bay History Center said, “The behind the scenes aspect that Glasier had access to, gets to the human side of the performers as they include scenes of everyday life.” Powell added, “The exhibit will also have a local component consisting of articles and ads that were found in newspapers back in the early 1900’s when the circus came to Tampa and St. Pete. They show a connection of the performers to the area.”

The Tampa Bay History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on the 12,000 years of Florida history. The History Center offers hands on, kid friendly activities along with cutting edge interactive exhibits that are perfect for the whole family.

For more information, please visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org or call 228-0097.