The modern museum is a vibrant, inclusive hub of activities for the community that it serves. With the guidance of its new strategic plan, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has made great strides toward achieving its goals of inclusion, inspiration and excellence.
The Ringling’s Youth and Family Program Manager, Angelica Hull, has seen firsthand the difference that creative and inclusive programming can make in the lives of Sarasota families. Hull reports that last year over 10,000 children, ages 0-12 years, and their accompanying guardians participated in the museum’s various family programs, including Stroller Tours, Museum of Art Mondays, Family Saturdays, Home School Thursday’s and ROAR (The Ringling’s Preschool reading program).
“We have facilitated 222 programs for children and families over the last year,” said Hull. “All of the programs are free of charge to families. The Ringling education department has a strong commitment to making the museum accessible to people of all ages.”
The museum positively impacts an additional 9,500 students who come to the museum from 17 Florida counties on field trips. As the State Art Museum of Florida, The Ringling is a favorite destination for both school trips and teacher training. Six workshops were held that provided continuing education credit and professional development opportunities for 150 teachers, training them in topics such as visual thinking strategies and how to integrate the arts into classroom subjects.
“The Ringling has awarded over $9,000 in bus scholarships to local schools,” said Katie Nickel, school and teacher program coordinator at The Ringling. “This allows teachers to bring students to the museum at no cost, which is very important for our Title 1 schools.”
The Ringling’s Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program is part of an outreach initiative which provides free family level memberships to underserved families. Through the WEB program, more than 600 families have received free memberships thus far. Participation in WEB is by way of partnerships with nonprofit community organizations, and generous funding from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County have made this program possible.
Families engaged in the program will learn how to make the most of a museum visit with their children, including how to spark children’s curiosity and find learning opportunities all around. WEB families may return to the museum as often as they like, and WEB family memberships include free admission to the museum, guest passes and much more.
“The Ringling is committed to engaging with all members of our community” said Steven High, executive director of The Ringling. “Family, school and community education programming are essential to our mission. To make the museum accessible to all is paramount in our strategic vision.”
For more information about family programs at The Ringling, visit ringling.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ringling is a preeminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida – which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, a historic mansion, an 18th-century theater and bay front gardens – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission and offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars and lifelong learners of every age within the region, across the country and around the world.