CantonRep.com/Michael S. Balash
About 400 elephants were carved by Robert Immel for his miniature circus.
By Gary Brown, CantonRep.com staff writer
Mar 15, 2013
A big top has been placed over the little circus displayed at Massillon Museum.
The clear, acrylic bubble covering the recently cleaned and restored Immel Circus display, protects the miniature three-ring circus from dust and other destructive elements. It also allows museum visitors to better view the tiny world that includes tents, animals, performers and circus workers.
The dome, paid for through visitor donations and community contributions, preserves for future generations the pieces that Robert Immel carved between 1946 and 1995 using tools from his Massillon dental practice.
“The 100-square-foot miniature circus contains more than 2,600 pieces,” notes text near the exhibit. “Dr. Immel donated the miniature circus to the Museum in 1995, along with more than 1,400 artifacts of circus-related memorabilia.”
Some of those artifacts are displayed surrounding the Immel Circus. And on the wall leading to the room in which the miniature circus is exhibited, placards hawk the display with circus barker enthusiasm.
“This Way to the Immel Circus! You Won’t Believe Your Eyes!”
Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend the creative talent that Immel possessed. He carved most of the pieces, save for a few that were hand-crafted by friends and retired circus performers. Much of the circus is wood, but some items are metal and plastic.