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K-12 Docent-Led Tours

Watch students engage with works of art as a trained museum guide facilitates their exploration of The Ringling's art collection. A variety of themes are available for docent-led tours, each of them focused on careful looking and discussion. While the high volume of school tour requests prevents us from offering custom guided tours in the Museum of Art, we gladly work with educators to adapt our tour themes to suit students' needs and interests.

What You Need to Know...

► Reservations must be made 6 weeks prior to your visit.
► Docent-led Tours are available on Tuesday through Friday; September - May 
► Tours are free and available for groups of 10+ students
► 2 chaperones are required for every 10 students.
Special events or time constraints may occasionally cause tour changes.
► Docent-led Tours are contingent upon Docent availability.
Please note: All school visits and tours must be confirmed in advance by The Ringling Education Dept. It may take up to two weeks to receive your confirmation. If you have not received  confirmation, contact at least one week before your visit.


Tour Options


Special Exhibition Tour: Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables | Free tours in Spanish and English

Grades: K-12 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45-60 minutes

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to tour the special photography exhibition, Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables! This tour introduces students to the work of acclaimed photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who lived and worked in Mexico City. Bravo’s modern photographs capture the essence and spirit of Mexican identity in the early 20th century. These tours are available in both Spanish and English, and are perfect for English Language Learners (ELL) and students enrolled in Spanish language courses. This Tour will only be available Tuesday – Friday in January and February 2020.

Meet The Ringling
Grades: K-12 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45-60 minutes

This tour introduces students to The Ringling and its influential founders, John and Mable Ringling. Students will learn about the legacy of this impressive local couple and explore the art collection that they brought to Sarasota. Your docent will guide students in analyzing the ideas and stories behind a selection of key works, thereby sharpening their skills of observation and interpretation. This tour will feature 4-6 works of art.

I am an Artist
Grades: K-5 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45 minutes

Everything you can imagine is real - Pablo Picasso - This exploration for K-2 students introduces The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as a place of imagination and wonder. Students will learn what artists are, how they create from real-life and their imagination, and will be encouraged to think like an artist! Your docent will guide students through several works of art, honing observation and analytical skills as we learn to look and examine closely. Students will imagine themselves exploring the world inside of paintings, bring works of art to life by acting out surprising and exciting scenes, and discuss the ways artists represent objects from real-life in different ways. Pre- and post-exploration lesson plans are available to frame your visit, introducing students to creative thinking and tying the museum visit into language arts curriculum. This tour will feature 4-6 works of art.

Animal Safari
Grades: K-5 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45-60 minutes
Take a scholarly safari! During this tour, students search for amazing animals in works of art. Regal lions, prancing horses, devoted dogs and curious cats are just some of the creatures on display. Learn about the roles that animals play in our lives and in art, and compare the different ways that artists have depicted our furry, scaly, and feathery friends. This tour will feature 4-6 works of art.
Superhuman in Sarasota
Grade: 4th Only | Venue:  Museum of Art + Tibbals Learning Center |Length: 90 minutes
Our Superhuman in Sarasota school tour, offered exclusively to 4th grade classes, gives students a chance to discover fine art and local history in The Ringling's unique setting. Led by our trained docents, students will explore the Museum of Art and the Tibbals Learning Center as they look for examples of "superhuman" individuals in art and in the circus. Designed to address 4th grade standards in social studies and language arts, the Superhuman in Sarasota tour connects students with important cultural heritage of the Ringlings and their circus legacy. This tour covers a total of 6 stops.
Creative Colors
Grades: 6-8 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45-60 minutes

Color has always been one of the most important elements in the artist's tool box. By examining works in the galleries, students will see how artists use color to set a mood, define a character, or convey symbolic meaning. During this tour, students will have the opportunity to develop new vocabulary and use visual thinking skills to discuss color in art. This tour will feature 4-6 works of art.

Myths and Legends
Grades: 4-12 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 45-60 minutes

Explore myths and legends from throughout history with this tour. Students will learn about the lives and loves of heroes, gods, and other mythological and historical figures through their depiction in paintings and sculptures. By connecting works of art to students' knowledge of ancient history, literature and contemporary culture, this tour creates opportunists for rewarding discussions and discoveries. This tour will feature 4-6 works of art.

Introduction to Research
Grades: 9-12 | Venue:  Art Library | Length: 60 minutes

This one-hour program with a Ringling librarian introduces high school students to the basics of using a research library. Established with The Ringling’s opening in 1946, the Art Library is one of the largest and most comprehensive art research libraries in the southeastern United States. During this participatory program, students will be introduced to the importance of research libraries, learn how to use an online college library catalog, and discover ways databases can aid student research. Students will try their hand at these new skills by using the online catalog to locate a library book, use it to answer brief research questions, and return to the catalog to find the next source. This program is the perfect addition to a museum tour and has been designed for high school students. 

AP Art History Tour: From Heroic to Human
Grades: 9-12 | Venue:  Museum of Art | Length: 90 minutes
In this 90 minute tour of the Museum of Art, AP Art History students will explore the portrayal of the human condition through the ages. The art of classical Greece and Rome exerted its influence in the portrayal of the human condition throughout the major epochs of Western art history. Whether emphasizing the idealized form and heroic postures of classical sculptures or striving for more naturalistic depictions of a frailer humanity, artists of the Renaissance, Baroque, Dutch Golden Age and Neoclassicism traditions reflect the ongoing and evolving influences of Ancient Greece and Rome. This tour directly compares works of art included in the AP Art History image set to related but unknown works of art at The Ringling, and students will practice comparing and analyzing works of art.


Schedule Your  Tour

► Submit  Your Tour Request
► Reservations are not final until you receive a confirmation email from the Education Department.
To change or cancel an existing reservation, contact Education at 941-359-5700 x3705 or If you have a last minute cancellation call Advance Sales at at 941-358-3180.