Dr. Ann Rowson-Love’s Visitor-Centered Exhibitions class and Dr. Pat Villeneuve’s Art Museum Education class took a field trip to John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, this past weekend. Students left promptly from Florida State University (FSU) at 6:45 a.m. on Friday, February 26, 2016, to meet the museum’s education staff in the Johnson-Blalock Education Center at 12:30 p.m. During lunch, students were able to meet and talk with The Ringling staff about their roles in the museum.
First-year Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions Masters student Morgan Szymanski described the field trip as “having an almost rock star special treatment and getting the ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the museum!” After lunch, students received a tour of the museum’s two special exhibitions, Samurai: The Way of the Warrior and Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from Assistant Curator of Exhibitions, Chris Jones. Students learned about the decisions and challenges curators encountered while developing these exhibitions.
The Director of Academic Affairs, David Berry, led students on a tour of the newly opened Center For Asian Art. In addition to an installation of The Ringling’s Asian art holdings, students viewed an object and print study room, open storage spaces of the collections, and future gallery spaces. The tour concluded with a reception held in the director’s suite of the Johnson-Blalock Education Center. Students and museum staff were allotted networking opportunities at the reception.
Students ended their day with a relaxing experience of Joseph’s Coat Skyspace in the Searing Wing of The Ringling. Students gathered in the space with their yoga mats and blankets. As the sun set, LED lights changed the color of the space, which altered how the sky and space appeared. Students all agreed that the display was a wonderful way to conclude the evening.
On Saturday, February 27, 2016, students attended The Saturday for Educators Workshop Series by the Education department. The workshop series is designed to enhance educators’ understanding of The Ringling’s collections and special exhibitions, while also providing an opportunity for networking, collaboration, and inspiration. This workshop aligned with Ink, Silk and Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. During the workshop, students and attendees learned what Islamic art entails and how teachers can use the special exhibit’s content to facilitate activities in the classroom. The workshop concluded with an additional tour of the space and lunch in the Education Center.
Before returning to FSU, students toured the Tibbals Learning Center and the Circus Museum. Students traveled through time and experienced life as a circus member, a wonderful way to end a fantastic weekend!
To participate in next year’s field trip to The Ringling, sign up for either Visitor-Centered Exhibitions (ARE5256) or Art Museum Education (ARE5295) during class registration for the FSU spring semester.