John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota (must see)

Founded by John Ringling (from the Ringling Brothers Circus) and his wife Mabel, this museum was built to store the large collection of paintings and art objects (more than 10,000 items), including sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts, that the founders had garnered over the course of many years. The building itself was modeled after the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and, as such, represents an architectural attraction in its own right.

Here, alongside a wealth of world-renowned (16th–20th-century) European canvases by celebrated grands like Peter Rubens, Thomas Gainsborough and many others, you can see Cypriot antiquities as well as Asian and American artworks. One wing presents some rotating exhibits and one permanent collection of Modern and Contemporary art, and the Searing Wing offers Joseph's Coat, a stunning 3000-sq-ft James Turrell–designed 'Sky Space.' There is also a library, with a total holding of 70,000 items.

With 21 galleries in one place, you may need more than just a single visit to see them all, plus a pair of comfortable shoes. Currently maintained and run by Florida State University, the museum offers performances, lectures, talks, and family programs as well.

In the adjacent gardens, you can enjoy the Museum of Sculpture Art courtyard or opt to have a picnic there, under a Banyan tree. And if you like to eat on the grounds, there’s the Ringling Grillroom (advance reservations are highly recommended here). For sandwiches, baked goods, and salads, try Mable’s Coffee and Tea or The Ringling Concessions.

You can either explore the museum on your own or take one of their 45-minute tours for a more in-depth exploration. Audio tours are also available.
Given the magnitude of the place, prepare to spend more than a few hours here, and make sure not to miss the gift shop by the entrance.
As per John Ringling’s will, the museum offers free entrance every Monday. Also, on Thursdays, between 5pm and 8pm, there's a discounted entrance fee.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sarasota. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on Map

Sight Name: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Sight Location: Sarasota, USA (See walking tours in Sarasota)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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