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Speakers Bureau

  • Right This Way to the Circus Museum

    Discover the history of the American circus through special exhibitions, displays and interactive galleries.

  • A Terrace of Dreams

    Today’s special events bring back the faint echoes of music and laughter and love that lived here once and live here yet again.

  • Welcome to the Ringling Museum of Art

    31 galleries filled with works of antiquities, old masters and modern visionaries, the Ringling Museum is a jewel set on Sarasota’s beautiful Bayfront.

  • The Bayfront Gardens

    Riot with greenery and sculpted gardens, the Ringling’s 66-acres are a rich collection of tropical flora as inspiring as any work of art here.

The Ringling strives to engage members of our regional community through speaking engagements. The Ringling staff experts strive to engage our community on a variety of topics about the Museum, its legacy and growth, its programming and its future. Two formats are available; Lectures and Gallery Conversations and you may select from the topics listed below.

$100 flat fee; must be scheduled at least 3 weeks in advance
$250 for custom tour topics; must be scheduled at least 6 weeks in advance
All tours are hosted via Zoom.
For additional information, or to book a virtual program, contact Laura Steefel-Moore, Head of Educational Programs, at



Lectures include a single-speaker, slide-illustrated lecture. Topics subject to speaker availability.

Virtual Lectures with Dr. David Berry

David Berry, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, is one of Sarasota’s favorite lecturers! His dry sense of humor and wealth of knowledge is sure to both entertain and educate your group. Dr. Berry is available to speak on any of the following subjects:

• The origins of museums
• Museum architecture and display
• The Victorian museum
• Early museums in America
• Museums, education, and community engagement
• Great women collectors
• The illicit trafficking of cultural property
• World fairs
• An introduction to natural history
• Great illustrated natural history books
• Natural history and children’s literature
• Scientific illustration
• Natural history specimens
• Natural history collections
• Art and medicine
• The art of anatomy
• The art of astronomy and microscopy
• The art of geology and paleontology (including dinosaurs)
• Botanical and zoological art
• Botanical and zoological gardens
• The golden age of botanical exploration
• The orchid craze in Victorian Britain
• Japanese garden design and horticultural practices (ikebana and bonsai)
New! Let’s Run Away to the Circus!
Join us for a virtual program with Ringling Museum educators as they give us a behind-the-scenes look at the early 20th century circus.  This program will be use historic photographs and other objects from the Ringling Museum collection to illustrate stories of performers, managers, animals, spectators, and everyone in between.   As we recount the golden days of circus, we’ll invite you to share your own circus memories as well!
Gallery Conversations

Virtual Gallery Conversations are educator-facilitated discussions based on a selection of artworks from the Museum collection. These programs will encourage group participation.

• Eating Our Way Through the Museum: There’s no food or drink allowed in the galleries – but it’s encouraged on this virtual gallery conversation! We’ll eat our way through the museum while looking at delicious depictions of food in the collection.
• Man’s Best Friend:  Artists include dogs in paintings for a wide variety of reasons. Join this conversation about a selection of artworks featuring our favorite canine companions.
• Leisure Time: Vacations certainly look different in the time of COVID-19, but we’ll reminisce about lazy days spent boating, fishing, picnicking, traveling, and more.
• Let’s Get to Work: We’ll look at images of people working hard at a variety of trades in the collection during this virtual gallery conversation.
• Spooky Stories: Art isn’t always pretty and relaxing! Join us for a look at some of the scary and creepy works in the museum's collection.
• Gratitude and Thanksgiving: What are you thankful for? In this conversation, we'll share what makes us grateful and discuss how those themes are reflected in the museum's collection.
• New Year, New Me: You can work on self-improvement any time of the year! We’ll pick some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions and see how they show up in artwork from the collection.
• Thanks, Mom: Every day should be mother’s day! We’ll discuss images of motherhood represented in the collection.
• Journeys in Art: Join us to explore stories of travel and migration represented in the museum collection.
• Memory and Loss: Since the beginning, art has been a way to memorialize loss and remember loved ones. We’ll share objects from the collection that do so in different ways.
• Portraiture: Before we had selfies, we had painted portraits! What information can we extrapolate about a person based on how they chose to be commemorated? We’ll explore this question and more.
• Strong Women: Women have been making history since the beginning of time. On this tour, you'll meet some of the heroines in the Ringling's collection and hear their stories.