The Showmen’s Museum, located at 6938 Riverview Dr, Riverview, FL, is a unique and captivating destination that celebrates the rich history of traveling shows in America. Spanning over 54,000 square feet, this museum is unlike any other, dedicated to preserving the legacy and vibrant history of carnivals and circuses.
Open every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm, the museum welcomes visitors to explore a plethora of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia that capture over a century of traveling shows in America. It showcases an era when small theater troupes, medicine shows, and later, large circus trains and motorized truck shows, were the primary sources of entertainment for many Americans, especially during difficult times like the two World Wars.
The first circus in America dates back to 1793, credited to John Bill Rickets, while the first traveling carnival appeared in 1864, with a carousel transported by German immigrant Michael Dentzel. This mode of entertainment evolved over the centuries, with shows traveling across the country, bringing excitement and joy to the grassroots people of America.
The Showmen’s Museum preserves this rich history, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the world of traveling carnivals, wild west shows, and tented circuses. The collection includes rides, games, sequined costumes, and colorful wagons from a bygone era, offering a glimpse into the life and entertainment of the past. It’s a place where one can appreciate the simple joys and thrills that these traveling shows brought to communities, marking an essential part of American cultural history.