Five MA students in our Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies program spent the 2016-17 academic year studying and working at the world-class Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, gaining hands-on professional experience in an outstanding environment. The Ringling, the State Art Museum of Florida and part of the FSU College of Fine Arts, ranks among the largest and most prestigious university arts complexes in the world, including art and circus museums, a historic mansion and theater, an extensive archive, and one of the largest art reference libraries in the southeastern United States.
Grad students Chelsea Dinkel, Ana Juarez, Hilary Juiliana, Chris Tan, and Dianna Bradley participated in a unique internship opportunity: After completing eight museum and art history courses in Tallahassee during the first year of study, students may choose The Ringling Track, spending their second full year of combining professional coursework and internship in the museum. The program provides insight into and training for museum careers through practical work experience not available in most academic settings. As intern Chelsea Dinkel writes,
The Ringling has presented us with a fantastic opportunity for hands on learning within a variety of departments. We juggle multiple projects daily, from archives, to classwork, to exhibition installation. Working closely with the staff has allowed us to gain invaluable experience.
Students in The Ringling Track spend up to eight weeks working in each museum department, participating in all aspects of museum operations and learning how each department fits into the museum as a whole. Each semester the interns also enroll in a graduate seminar designed to put the internship in context. These seminars are led by David Berry, assistant director of academic and student affairs at the Ringling. The courses provide students with a deeper understanding of museum theory and practice and an opportunity to discuss exhibition issues in depth with curatorial staff and other museum professionals.