In this Oct. 17, 2013
photo, new doors were installed as part of the initial
phases of restoration of the Ringling train shed along the
Baraboo Riveras in Baraboo, Wis. A $1 million renovation of
the unique building which housed train cars that took the
"greatest show on Earth" across the country, is complete.
The Circus World Museum says it's the longest wooden
railroad structure in America.
BARABOO, Wis. — Two nonprofits that
battled over control of Circus World 18 months ago are now close to
a deal that could stabilize operations of the attraction.
The boards governing the Circus World Museum Foundation and the
Wisconsin Historical Society are expected to act on the revised
lease and management agreement next month. The two groups are
hashing out details that would allow either side to terminate the
deal and set a timeframe for doing so, said Ellsworth Brown,
executive director of the Historical Society.
"I think it's safe to say there are no disagreements," Brown said.
"It's all good news."
The Circus World Museum opened in 1959 on the site that served as
the winter home of the Ringling brothers' circus from 1884 to 1918.
Its permanent collection includes the world's largest collection of
authentic circus wagons. The Historical Society owns the Baraboo
historic site's collections and grounds. The Circus World Museum
Foundation operates the site under a lease and management deal with
The agreement the two groups are working on will determine the
conditions under which the deal could be terminated and steps that
should be taken to remedy any issues, the Baraboo News Republic
In the event of a significant problem at Circus World, both sides
would have the chance to opt out after giving enough notice to allow
a succession plan to be established, Brown said. Both parties may
decide to increase the timeframe from about 30 days to a year or so,
The nonprofits have made strides since 2013, when the political
dispute over the attraction led to the departure of former Circus
World Executive Director Steve Freese.
"The tone of our discussions has been positive," said Scott
O'Donnell, Circus World's current executive director.
The boards are expected to vote on a draft of the revised agreement