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Educational Resources for Teaching about the Circus 

Submitted by Member on   4/4/2004
Last Modified


Originally printed in the September/October 1999 issue of THE WHITE TOPS.

Distributed by the Education Committee of the Circus Fans Association of America, a not-for-profit hobby organization dedicated to the enjoyment, appreciation and preservation of the beloved and unique institution known as the circus.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Education Department
8607 Westwood Center Drive
Vienna, VA 22182

The Ringling organization provides a number of materials to help teach about the circus. Contact them at the above address, noting Attention: Education Dept. The Ringling web site ( is also a must. The site has a great deal of information about circus history, the Ringling shows, game and quizzes, etc. You can also leave an e-mail message.

Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus
P.O. Box 127
DeLand, FL 32721-0127

This show provides a teaching unit produced in 1990. They have been most generous in providing it upon request.

The Big Apple Circus
505 Eighth Ave.
19th Floor
New York, NY 10018-6505

In the past, The Big Apple Circus has provided fairly detailed lesson plans, complete with performance objectives. Check the web site.

Circus of the Kids
926 Waverly Road
Tallahassee, FL 32312

Circus of the Kids provides one-, two-, and three-week programs in which they teach kids circus skills. The program culminates with a performance of the skills learned. Schools using these programs are provided with a curriculum guide so teachers can use the circus theme to teach various disciplines.

Circus Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 700
Peru, IN 46970

A video on the Circus Hall of Fame is available. Users pay postage and insurance both ways. Speakers are available for Indiana schools, which fits nicely with the one semester of Indiana history required of all high school students in the state. Other information on Indiana's rich circus history is available from the Hall of Fame.

Circus World Museum
426 Water Street
Baraboo, WI 53913

The Circus World Museum is a major depository for materials related to the circus. Included in its services are a book loan service with more than 700 circus-themed books; films and videos including some with historic film footage; serials including Amusement Business, Bandwagon, Circus Report and The White Tops; and reference correspondence assistance. They can also provide photocopy and photographic services. A speakers bureau is available for those located locally. Ask for a free copy of "Circus Tails" newsletter. Send a business-size SASE for your copy.

Hertzberg Circus Collection and Museum
San Antonio Public Library
210 West Market Street
San Antonio, TX 78205


On Friday, October 5, the Hertzberg Circus Collection and Museum at 210 W. Market Street ceased operation. This action was necessary because the condition of the building compromised the condition of both the circus memorabilia and the book and document archives.

The City will conduct a feasibility study on creating a San Antonio/Bexar County History Center in that location, a concept which as the backing of county officials. The Library will continue to provide security, protect the remaining collections, and monitor the building's condition. Neither the circus memorabilia nor the collections will be disposed of or thrown away. The City has already begun discussions with other San Antonio organizations named as beneficiaries in Harry Hertzberg's will to ensure responsible and appropriate placement of the collections.

Items in the book and document archives will be available on an appointment-only basis for researchers. To make an appointment, please call (210) 207-2500 and ask for the Texana/Genealogy Department.

Circus Education Specialists
67 Lion Lane
Westbury, NY 11590

We are a professional circus. We are located at 67 Lion Ln in Westbury, NY. We are dedicated to helping you with all your circus needs. Please give us a call at 516-334-2123 for more information.

The National Circus Project
67 Lion Lane
Westbury, NY 11590

This project was founded to reserve and promote the tradiitonal circus arts and skills through education and entertainment. They do in-service projects for teachers and also will do programs in schools. For more information, call (516) 334-2123.

Circus Minimus
215 West 88th Street #12
New York, NY 10024

Using a circus theme, this integrated program extends the circus into all aspects of the classroom. For more information, contact Kevin O'Keefe at the above address, or call (212) 679-7575.

Educational Book Distributors
Box 551
San Mateo, CA 94401

A series of three circus-themed books designed for grades K-1, but can be used perhaps as high as grade 3. The books, entitled Let's Be Circus Animals, Let's Be Circus Stars, and Let's Have a Circus, provide a wide range of activites to interest younger children. A more recent book by the same company is Put on a Circus. This book contains fund-raising ideas, teaching units and resources. The price is $9.95 plus $1.75 postage and handling.

The following are available from THE CIRCUS FANS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA. For information, contact the Education Committee Chairman

      Robert Kitchen
      29 Damon Street
      Fall River, MA 02720-0388

BIBLIOGRAPHY - This is an annotated bibliography of contemporary children's books for students, parents and young adults.

MONOGRAPHS - Five monographs are available.

  1. Clowns and Clowning
  2. Aerial Acts
  3. Circus Ground Acts
  4. Circus Animal Trainers
  5. Youth Circus Programs.

These monographs, by Dr. Joseph Rogers, are several pages long and include a bibliography for each topic. Teachers will find them informative and can use them in any way they choose.

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