I have to say that I took The Ringling for granted the first several years I lived in Sarasota. I was in town living and working as a stage actor with an actor's typical schedule of Mondays off. One Monday, a friend dragged me to the museum as we could both get in free. (Actors are always looking for free things to do.)
I remember being struck with the expansiveness of the property. My idea of a museum growing up was always a small, contained building. The Ringling was anything but. The huge halls, the gorgeous courtyard, the fabulous Ca D'Zan on the bay. It was stunning. Of course it still is.
In the last several years, I've been much more engaged in what's happening at the museum. I've been most excited to watch the perception of The Ringling transform. I believe it started with exhibits like Beyond Bling and has continued with Herb Ritts and Icons of Style. And events like Ringling Underground and Yoga on the Terrace have changed the museum from a sterile atmosphere to a more engaging cultural destination. I love it.
I have to say that my favorite trip to The Ringling was when I brought my Aunt Nancy, who was down from Syracuse.
Luckily, the visit was documented, and as you can hear for yourself... it was FABULOUS!