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Howard Tibbals Learning Center Opens

Experience the different aspects of circus life in a new exhibit at John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Everyone involved at the circus has a special role and the expanded interactive galleries at the Circus Museum's Tibbals Learning Center highlights the importance those circus folks play.

The cut the ribbon Saturday on the expanded galleries inside the Tibbals Learning Center.

The center is named for Knoxville, Tennessee residents Howard and Janice Tibbals for their contributions to the museum.  Howard Tibbals is a renowned model builder who spent 50 years building an expansive display of how the circus is brought to town and produced. 

The ¾-inch-to-the-foot scale replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus circa 1919 to 1938.

The ceremony also caps off an eventful week for top award Monday.

Just about the only thing that's not in this exhibit from Tibblas are photographs documenting the circus' history that he uses to build the models.

"When I'm dead and gone, whatever there's such a time, they'll come on down here," he said. 

One thing the public won't see on the premises is a storage room that has special carbon-free lights in it to prevent discoloration of circus artifacts, Tibbals explained.

To celebrate the occasion, the Tibbals organized a circus celebration at the museum Saturday.

Open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. with discounted admission 5-8 p.m. Adult admission is $25 and $20 for senior citizens 65 and over.

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