Philanthropist Who Created Circus-Focused Learning Center at Ringling Museum Dies at 85 - CircusTalk

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Philanthropist Who Created Circus-Focused Learning Center at Ringling Museum Dies at 85

Howard C. Tibbals, a philanthropist whose love for the circus led him to create the Howard Bros. Circus Model — now a centerpiece of Tibbals Learning Center at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art — died at home March 20. He was 85.

Tibbals was just 3 when he first saw circus performers unloading from wagons and marveled at the choreography of roustabouts setting up tents that would house the traveling troupe.

“I was struck by what a massive operation the circus was,” Tibbals told the Herald-Tribune in 2006. “I was fascinated by the mechanics of it, by how they’d travel to a new town each day and set up a virtual city. It left quite an impression.”

Tibbals started creating the Howard Bros. Circus display — a three-quarter-inch-to-the-foot scale replica of the 1930s-era Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus — in 1956, while he was a freshman engineering student at North Carolina State University. … Link to Full Length Article at Herald Tribune.