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Director's Welcome

Welcome to The Ringling

As far back as the 1940s, The Ringling has been committed to nurturing meaningful educational involvement in the arts. At that time, A. Everett Austin, Jr., The Ringling’s first director and curator, partnered with Florida State University (FSU), known for its fine arts and art history curricula, to develop undergraduate and graduate-level seminars. Ever since, The Ringling has engaged FSU’s students through a number of outreach initiatives, including offering courses and symposia, hosting class visits, arranging student internships, and cultivating faculty relationships across disciplines. Building on this strong tradition, The Ringling, in conjunction with FSU, will now offer three graduate-level programs—a master’s in Museum Studies and a master’s and doctorate in Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions.

The launch of these prestigious graduate opportunities, which integrate The Ringling’s vast museum resources with the university’s outstanding arts curriculum, are attributable to the initiative and leadership of Peter Weishar, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at FSU. In addition, thanks to FSU’s distinguished record of achievement, it received preeminence funding from the state of Florida to inaugurate these new avenues of excellence.

The MA in Museum Studies consists of coursework at FSU followed by a one-year experiential internship at The Ringling, in which students will participate in all aspects of museum operations involving exhibitions, registration, development, and administration. The Museum Education program, the first in the US to offer a doctorate in the subject, will allow The Ringling and FSU to identify key survey projects that will help The Ringling better serve you, our visitors. This critical audience research aligns with The Ringling’s strategic initiative to embrace a visitor-centered model while providing a matchless on-the-ground practicum for budding museum education specialists.

The Ringling also functions as an informal gathering place for students from the consortium of colleges and young professionals throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties with events such as Ringling Underground, which features performing artists, bands, DJs, and student art exhibitions. 

Please join me in welcoming these promising museum professionals-in-training to The Ringling and in celebrating the environment of inquiry and educational enrichment that advances our entire cultural experience.

Steven High
Executive Director

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