MA students in our Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies (MCHS) program have the unique opportunity to spend their entire second year of study as interns at the world-class Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. Daniel Bianco, Melanie Blanton, Shannon Nortz, and Qinghe Wang are currently participating in the program, and Nortz has created a detailed blog to document her experiences in the exceptional museum center: My Ringling Year.
Shannon set out to record her professional education at the museum and experiences around Sarasota and the region, hoping the blog would “serve as a good reference to future or prospective MCHS students who are curious about what it means to be a Ringling intern.” The result is a remarkably thorough and engaging visual journal outlining the breadth and depth of the interns’ training.
The year begins with seminars, data collection and materials summaries, visits to the conservation lab, and tours of other area gardens and collections. Ongoing projects throughout the year include group exhibition proposals, individual research and preparation of specific guided tours, inspecting and moving historic furniture in the Cà d’Zan, interactions with visiting scholars and artists, training in label and catalog writing, and assistance with community events and family programs. Shannon’s journal serves as a helpful guide for future students, giving them a taste of this remarkably thorough training for up-and-coming museum professionals.
After completing eight museum and art history courses in Tallahassee during the first year of study, MCHS 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.
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.