Visit to Ringling Museum Art Library

Thursday afternoon I visited the Ringling Museum Art Library in Sarasota, FL.  I had first discovered the library in June of last year when my family visited from North Carolina and we decided to spend a day at the Ringling Museum.  The art library is part of the Ringling Museum complex that includes a circus museum, an art museum, several gardens, and John Ringling's former residence.  And yes, if you are thinking about the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, John was one of those brothers!  My family and I stumbled across a sign for the library during our day at the museum and decided to go in.  We didn't stay for very long, but I was facinated by the library.

When my class was assigned a project to tour two libraries this semester, I remembered my visit to the Ringling Art Library last year and decided to pick it as one of my two libraries.  What an awesome experience!  The behind the scenes tour the librarian gave me was very interesting and educational.  One room in the library contains about 600 books that were from John Ringling's personal book collection.  The library also has a rare book room that contains books dating all the way back to the 1500s!  The librarian also showed me a collection of circus related books donated by a man from California who is systematically donating his collection of circus related books.  She told me once they receive his entire collection, she anticipates their library will be on track to be the premier circus library in the United States.

If you love art and art history, you should definitely visit the Ringling Museum Art Library.  They are only open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 - 5 PM or by appointment.  You can visit their website at to learn more about their collections and the entire Ringling Museum of Art.  The entire Ringling complex is amazing.  The Ringling residence called Ca' d'Zan, which means "House of John", sits right on the water and offers phenomemal views of the bay.   



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