TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, operating in 45 countries and relying on more than 170 million reviews from actual travelers, has recently recognized Florida’s official State Art Museum, The Ringling, as one of the 25 top museums in its 2014 Traveler’s Choice Awards. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, of the 35,000 active museums in the United States, The Ringling, long known for its visual and performing arts, ranks in the top 0.05 percent.
“It is gratifying to see The Ringling compared to some of the largest and most recognizable museums in the nation.” Steven High, executive director of The Ringling, said. “We are able to provide an exceptional experience for our visitors while operating with fewer resources outside a major urban location.”
Aside from receiving “excellent” reviews from over 80 percent of its 1873 reviewers on TripAdvisor , The Ringling Museum also stands out as one of the top six art museums in the United States for visitor experience. The Art Institute of Chicago came in at number one for art museums and museums overall. Only the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Frick Museum in New York, ranked above The Ringling in these same categories.
“The recognition is fantastic news for the Museum,” High said. “We decided to make improving the visitor experience one focus of our strategic plan, and this award validates that these efforts are succeeding.”
Since becoming The Ringling’s executive director in 2011, High has overseen such improvements as the design and beginning construction for a new Center for Asian Art, the opening of “Joseph’s Coat,” a skyspace by artist James Turrell, the stabilization and expansion of the Ringling International Arts Festival, and the development and implementation of a strategic plan that, among other initiatives, prioritized visitor experience.
The Ringling Museum grounds, located on 66-acres of Sarasota Bay shoreline, includes the Ca’ d’Zan, the winter residence of the Circus King, John Ringling, and his wife Mable; the Historic Asolo Theater, a restored eighteenth-century Italian theater; the oldest Circus Museum in the United States; and the Museum of Art, which houses famous works by such renown artists as Paolo Veronese, Diego Velasquez and Peter Paul Rubens. In contrast to the substantial amount of contemporary visual and performing arts, Rubens’ colossal “Triumph of the Eucharist” series stands out as one of the museum’s most persistently breathtaking pieces of art.
For more information on hours, exhibits, shows and events happening at The Ringling, visit Ringling.org